BACTA survey finds support for FOBT stake reduction
A survey commissioned by BACTA, the trade association for the UK amusement sector, has found support for a reduction in the stake for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs, B2 machines) to below GB£ 20.
According to the survey 54% of respondents believed there should be a limit to the amount of money that can be staked on a FOBT.
Simon Storer, Head of Communications for BACTA said: “This research comes at a very crucial time. Not only do we have a new government, but we also have a new Secretary of State at the DCMS – the department responsible for the gaming industry – let’s hope the government can be persuaded by public concern to confront the issue of FOBTs once and for all.”
“There is a clear desire from the public for a change to the current arrangements. At BACTA we have argued for some time that the £100 stake allowed on the machines in LBOs needs to come down substantially. Importantly this also now appears to be the view of the public. We sincerely hope the government will reflect on the research, do the right thing and bring the stake on these machines in line with all other high street gaming machines.”
The results of the survey are hardly surprising from an organisation that represents high-street gaming centres which have to compete against FOBTs and are often restricted to lower-staking machines.
Part of the survey involved interviews with 5,903 people, of whom just 194 adults (3.2% of the sample) said they had actually played on a FOBT in the previous 12 months.
By coincidence, the survey coincides with the introduction of a bill to reduce the stake limits on FOBTs. Liberal Democrat Lord Clement- Jones’ Gambling Bill was published at the start of June 2015 and seeks to reduce the stake limit from GB£ 100 to GB£ 2, with some allowance for inflation-based increases.
Lord Clement-Jones said: “The social disruption left in the wake of FOBTs, and growing level of public concern associated with them, is now such that the status quo is unsustainable. The law needs to change.To this end I am very pleased to have tabled the Gambling (Categorisation and Use of B2 Gaming Machines) Bill.”
“The reduction of FOBT stakes from £100 to £2 proposed by my Bill will transform FOBTs so that rather than being the source of real suffering and hardship as is the case today, they become instead relatively benign forms of entertainment.”