Industry body, The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has called for amusement arcade operators to ‘catch up’ with other betting stakeholders in relation to consumer protection standards and problem gambling awareness.
The ABB has made its comment, following new evidence by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) which revealed that consumers are at greater risk of losing more money and playing for a longer time on gaming machines in arcades than on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in betting shops.
In its findings, the UKGC details that gaming sessions lasting longer than two hours were 67% higher in UK arcades than in betting shops, with arcade gaming machines returning less money to players than FOBTs.
Furthermore, the ABB has been critical of the lack of consumer safety protections, alerts and monitoring at UK arcades. Compared to betting shop FOBTs, the ABB states that arcade machines do not display ‘safe gambling’ messages, and do not allow for players to set betting limits before they can start playing, which are subject to mandatory time and spend alerts.
The ABB further details that UK arcades lack comprehensive player monitoring systems and that arcade staff may lack training in identifying customers who may be at risk from problem gambling.
“It is time the amusement arcade industry cleaned up its act and got its house in order. Arcade owners should be doing far more to support responsible gambling. This research from the Gambling Commission clearly shows that people can lose more money, more quickly in an amusement arcade than a betting shop.” The ABB detailed in its statement
“The evidence also revealed that the biggest session losses for customers across all gaming machines occur between 9 am and 10 am in adult gaming centers. In a betting shop, gaming machine players can set their own limits on what they spend or time they play for, and they are supervised by a highly trained staff – staff who can spot and help people getting into difficulty”.