Report on results of research into the likely effects of substantially reducing the maximum permitted stake of £100 per 20-second spin on category B2 electronic gambling machines in UK betting shops

Abstract

This report sets out new evidence on the impact of stake reduction on B2 gaming machines, which are more commonly known as Fixed Odds Betting Terminals or FOBTs. The report was commissioned by bacta, the voice of the British Amusement Machine Industry, but was undertaken independently by Prof Collins, Prof Barr and Dr. Scott. Using quantitative and qualitative research including focus groups and statistical analysis from computer simulations to accumulate evidence, the report:

• Identifies a new quantifiable measure to estimate the effect of lowering the stake on peoples vulnerability called “Vulnerability to Large Losses” or VLL;
• Finds that substantially reducing the maximum stake on a FOBT would more than halve the likelihood of unaffordable losses by those who are most vulnerable to being, or becoming, problem gamblers;
• Concludes that the Government should, in the interest of protecting the vulnerable, and in line with its policy of prioritising mental health issues, impose a substantial reduction on the maximum stake currently permitted on a FOBT in betting shops;
• Finds that a substantial stake reduction on FOBTs is strongly supported by the general public with 65% concluding that the current £100 stake was “Significantly too high”;
• Finds that 63% of those who know that electronic Roulette can be played in betting shops think that FOBTs should be banned altogether and finds that;
• Even amongst regular FOBTs players, nearly two-thirds favour reducing the maximum stake to protect the vulnerable.

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