Ahead of next month’s triennial stakes and prizes review by the DCMS, the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has reiterated that betting shops continue to offer ‘the safest place to gamble on the high street’.
The government is facing mounting pressure from lobbying groups to slash the maximum stakes of FOBTs to just £2, however, the gambling industry has warned that such a drastic cut would lead to job losses and betting shop closures.
The terminals have been subject to widespread debate over recent months. In an interview with Radio 4, ABB CEO Malcolm George warned with bookmakers already in decline banning the terminals, a move that will cost bookmakers an estimated £150 million in annual revenue, will ‘almost certainly see amusement arcade machines and casino numbers go up.’
Speaking to SBC, the ABB’s Peter Craske commented: “One of the key reasons betting shops offer the safest place to gamble on the high street is that our shop staff undertake regular training to make sure that is the case.
“From induction programmes to regular refresher courses, the training ensures that staff can spot anyone getting into difficulty with their gambling and provide the appropriate help.
“In addition to the various requirements under legislation – recording responsible gambling interactions for example – which are reported to the Gambling Commission, there are a range of other measures the industry has introduced voluntarily which also require staff to fully understand and implement.”
Craske added: “Over the last three years there have been a lot of new responsible gambling measures rolled out through the ABB’s Responsible Gambling Code – none of which are available in other venues with gaming machines like seaside arcades, casinos or pubs.”
Highlighting some of the new measures that have been implemented by British bookmakers, Craske pointed out that players now have “the power to set their own limits on the amount of time they play for, or amounts they spend.
“These were the first such measures in the world, and staff training also included understanding how the additional mandatory alerts – which kick in after someone has played for 20 minutes or spend £150 – work,” he explained.
“Thereafter the new £50 regulations, meaning anyone wanting to stake over £50 cannot do so unless they go to the counter or have a loyalty card. This required changes to machines with new software for staff to understand.
“The introduction of the new Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Scheme (MOSES) in April 2016 meant a further update to shop procedures, so staff knew what to do if someone wants to self-exclude themselves from their or any other shop.”