Parliamentary All Party

Betting & Gaming Group

29th September 2017

 
POSITION STATEMENT ON FIXED ODDS BETTING TERMINALS

The Parliamentary All-Party Betting & Gaming Group was set up by a group of Parliamentarians who had taken part in the numerous debates on what would become the Gambling Act 2005. They wished to continue their interest in the British gambling industry and have over the years become respected as some of the most knowledgeable Parliamentarians on the subject.  Members of the Group are often the main contributors to any gambling debate in either House and their views are widely regarded in Westminster, Whitehall and Downing Street.


The Group maintains a view that gambling should be legal and well-regulated but beyond that, encompasses a wide spectrum of beliefs into the extent and scope of gambling provision that should be allowed. Above all the Group wishes to engage with the stakeholders in the UK gambling industry, learn from them to educate the debate, but maintain an independence of views.

In this spirit, the Group does not hold a formal position on what level the maximum stakes and prizes for fixed-odds betting terminals should be when the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport announces the outcome of the Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, expected this Autumn.

We would, however, like to remind the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of her commitment to evidence based policy making, as stated in the House on the 29th June 2017.

With this in mind, we would like to remind the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of the following research which indicates that changes to limits of stakes alone may not be the best way of preventing harm:

  • Prof. David Forrest & Prof. Ian G. Mc. Hale, FOB-Ts in British betting shops: Further analysis of machine data to examine the impact of the £50 Regulations, 2017 – who state: ‘our findings indicate that it may be optimistic to focus just on one element in the choice architecture of players (the stake) while neglecting others (such as speed of play or mechanisms for paying)’.
  • Prof. Jonathan Parke, Dr. Adrian Parke & Prof. Alex Blaszczynski, Key Issues in Product-Based Harm Minimisation: Examining theory, evidence and policy issues relevant in Great Britain, 2016 – who state: ‘Restrictions on stake size alone fail to adequately address concerns in relation to cost of play. A stake-only approach ignores the role of game speed, game volatility and return-to-player (RTP)’.
  • Prof. Jonathan Parke & Dr. Adrian Parke, Does Size Really Matter? A Review Of The Role Of Stake And Prize Levels In Relation To Gambling-Related Harm, 2013 – who state: If a relationship with gambling-related harm exists in relation to stakes or prizes it may not necessarily be linear. For example, a low or moderately sized prize may alone be sufficient to provide optimal conditions for within session chasing. It is also possible that excessive monetary loss may be possible at low to moderate staking levels even in the absence of high stakes gambling. For these reasons, depending on where such thresholds exist, restrictions on stakes and prizes may be less meaningful.


The Group highlights that all the scientific research available mentions the gaps in research that make definitive answers hard to come by, which we realise is problematic from a public policy perspective. This means the task of solving the issue of problem gambling is still a long way off and we urge the industry to focus its efforts on commissioning more high-quality research to aid in evidence based policy making.

The Group is always concerned about the damage that problem gambling causes to the individual and those related to them and their communities. We believe that problem gambling is a complex problem, neither caused by one specific device or resolved by one specific policy action but by a multitude of factors in both cases. We believe that the British gambling industry is doing a significant amount to prevent problematic gambling. We believe there is always scope for additional effort and funding.

The Group is certain that the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State will take an evidence-based approach to this issue and will do her best to balance the demands of a responsible industry which employs tens of thousands of people in the UK, the millions of British people who enjoy the fun and pursuit of gambling recreationally, and the small percentage of individuals who are susceptible to problem gambling and addiction.

Registered Contact:
Philip Davies MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. Tel: 020 7219 8264. Email: daviesp@parliament.uk

 Public Enquiry Point:
Steve Donoughue. Tel: 020 3304 3742. Email: sdonoughue@gamblingconsultant.co.uk

 Disclaimer:
This is not an official publication of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. Groups are informal groups of Members of Both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in this document are those of the speakers who spoke at the Seminar series and do not represent the views of the Parliamentary All-Party Betting & Gaming Group.

More information about the Parliamentary All-Party Betting & Gaming Group can be found at our website: www.apbgg.org

Membership of the Group only implies that the Parliamentarian in question is on our mailing list and nothing else.