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UK: FOBTs stake limit officially reduced to £2

The new rules are intended to reduce the risks that players can lose large amounts of money in a short space of time, the UK Gambling Commission said.

United Kingdom |
04/01/2019

As from Monday, the maximum stake that can be offered on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (B2 machines) will drop from £100 (USD 130) to £2 (USD 2.6) per spin.

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he new MAXIMUM stake of £2 on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) came into force today in the UK. In the past, punters were able to gamble up to £100 on one game.

The new rules are intended to reduce the risks that players can lose large amounts of money in a short space of time, the UK Gambling Commission said.

As reported by The National, FOBTs have been cited as a major source of problem gambling across the UK and research by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has suggested up to a tenth of current users could quit gambling altogether.

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan has been a vocal critic of the machines – which feature games including roulette, blackjack and bingo – and has campaigned for the stake reduction.

SNP member Cowan, vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on gambling-related harm said: “The campaign to see the reduction of FOBTs to a £2 maximum unit stake has been a long fought one and I’m pleased to see the implementation of these changes as a measure to address gambling-related harm.

“According to the Gambling Commission’s own figures, the gross gambling yield (GGY) on these machines is £1.7 billion and the total losses that individuals have suffered have been millions of pounds.

“Since I was elected to Parliament back in 2015, I have strongly campaigned for more action to address gambling-related harm and the impact it has on individuals and their loved ones.

“The change to FOBTs has been a cross-party-led campaign and through the all-party parliamentary group, alongside Carolyn Harris MP and Iain Duncan Smith MP, we’ve managed to get the Government to listen and ultimately act. The wider issue of gambling-related harm is rightly received more attention as we learn the true extent of problem gambling in the UK.

“Some of the emerging challenges I believe, and which requires further action, is the link between young people and gambling, particularly on loot boxes and skin games.

“Added to this, the online gambling market and gambling advertising are areas which also need to be addressed. I hope the FOBT decision has served as a wake-up call to the UK Government that further action is required on gambling-related harm and I will continue to campaign on this subject.”

The UK Gambling Commission, for its part, has written to bookmakers to remind them of their responsibilities in ensuring consumers are protected. 

“We have been closely monitoring operators’ plans to manage the implementation of the stake cut and we will continue to watch very carefully to ensure that any changes and developments to these products are done with a focus on customer safety,” Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said. “Together with Government and the industry we must continue our ongoing work to make the whole industry safer – this includes continuing to make progress with making other products safer, as customers may move to gamble in other ways following the stake cut – including online, mobile and on the high street. It’s imperative that operators invest in and use data, technology and measures to identify harmful play and can step in to protect players when needed. They should be innovating to protect their customers, as much as they do to make a profit.”

Data indicates that the risks associated with Category B1 and B3 machines merit close scrutiny the reason why the Commission said last year in its advice to Government that it wanted to explore player protection options further. Those options include tracking play, using time and monetary limits and alerts, and communicating messages about gambling safely. 

Elsewhere, the Gambling Commission is tightening up rules for online gambling and in May new identity and age check rules come into force which will guard against the risk of children gambling, prevent children from playing free-to-play versions of gambling games on licensees’ websites, and increase the likelihood that someone will be identified if they attempt to gamble while self-excluded.

The Gambling Commission is also currently examining new areas for potential change including banning the use of credit cards for online gambling, the introduction of industry-funded gambling blocking software, and improving the ways operators interact with a customer who may be experiencing gambling-related harm

In addition, next month the Commission will be launching its new national strategy to reduce gambling harms - focusing the priorities for the Commission and partners to support prevention and treatment.

 

Source – Igaming world

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