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Government to take action on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Gambling Minister Tracey Crouch launches 12-week consultation on stake reduction to better protect consumers and communities

  • Government also announces moves to ensure stronger protections around online gambling and a new industry-led responsible gambling advertising campaign

The maximum stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) will be reduced, Gambling Minister Tracey Crouch announced today as the government published its gambling review.

The government has launched a consultation on a range of options on cutting maximum stakes of B2 gaming machines, otherwise known as FOBTs, from £100 to between £50 and £2. We have also asked the Gambling Commission for more information about how better tracking and monitoring of play on FOBTs can help with interventions to protect players and also if spin speed on games such as roulette should be looked at.

This is to reduce the potential for large losses on the machines and the risk of harm to both the player and wider communities in which these machines are located, such as the increased health costs associated with problem gambling.

In addition to the launch of a 12 week consultation on FOBTs, there will be a package of measures taking effect to strengthen protections around online gambling and gambling advertising to further minimise the risk to vulnerable people and children.

Gambling Minister Tracey Crouch said:

“It is vital that we strike the right balance between socially responsible growth and protecting the most vulnerable, including children, from gambling-related harm.

“Given the strong evidence and public concerns about the risks of high stakes gaming machines on the high street, we are convinced of the need for action. That is why today we have set out a package of proposals to ensure all consumers and wider communities are protected.

“We have seen online gambling grow rapidly and we need to protect players in this space, while also making sure those experiencing harm relating to gambling receive the help they need.”

The package of measures taking effect include:

  • Raising standards of player protection for online gambling – The Gambling Commission will consult on changes to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice next year, with the aim of raising standards on player protection online and will set out expectations to the industry around customer interaction online.
  • Responsible gambling campaign – GambleAware, Advertising Association, broadcasters and gambling industry groups will come together to draw up a major two year responsible gambling advertising campaign. The campaign will have a budget of £5 to £7 million per year and will include TV adverts, including around live sport, as well as radio, cinema, online and print. The campaign will be funded by gambling operators, including online-only betting firms, with airspace and digital media provided by broadcasters.
  • New advertising guidelines – This will be drawn up by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) to help protect those at risk of problem gambling and children and young people by ensuring that the content of gambling adverts does not encourage impulsive or socially irresponsible gambling.
  • Strengthening the code on responsible gambling advertising – The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) are strengthening the code on responsible gambling advertising to require operators to ensure gambling content and channels cannot be accessed by under-18s via social media
  • Responsible gambling initiatives – Gambling operators should step up on funding for research, education and treatment. If not, government will consider other options, including introducing a mandatory levy on gambling operators.

Regarding the stakes and prizes of other gaming machines, the government is recommending maintaining current stakes, apart from on prize bingo gaming where the government is content with industry proposals to increase takes from £1 to £2 and prizes from £70 to £100.

This follows the Government’s call for evidence launched in October 2016, that looked at the gambling landscape, including the number and location of gaming machines in licensed premises and the social responsibility measures in place to protect players and communities from gambling-related harm.

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