Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University is a Chartered Psychologist and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit. He was the expert adviser on the ABB’s new Code of Conduct which hopes to reduce the chance of people getting into problems while player betting shop gaming machines.
SBC: What do you think is the key measure that bookmakers have introduced?
Professor Griffiths: The ABB have introduced a number of measures that did not exist in the betting sector previously. For me, the key measures relate to the pre-commitment tools in the form of players being able to pre-set how much time and money they want to spend on FOBTs and pop-up reminders to let players know how much time and money they have spent gambling. Pre-commitment measures make it hard for players to chase their losses. I also welcome the removal of ATMs from shop premises and greater emphasis on staff training in relation to both responsible gambling and problem gambling.
Is there an argument that these measures should be extended to other category B games no matter what the venue? What about Cat C?
Personally, I would welcome limit setting tools on all slot machines irrespective of category. If the technology is there we should use it to promote responsible gambling among all players, not just players of one particular type of slot machine.
How ground breaking are these measures? Is the rest of the international gaming research community waiting eagerly for the results of their impact?
For the betting sector, some of the measures introduced (such as responsible gambling tools on the machines) are groundbreaking although there are some companies in the lottery sector that have utilized such measures over the last few years.
What more can operators do on top of the code?
I think the new code is a significant improvement on the measures previously in place. I would like to see player cards linked to behavioural tracking tools that can provide personalized feedback to players based on their actual gambling behaviour – I have a vested interest as the co-developer of one such tool but I do truly believe that providing help and support for gamblers to make informed choices about gambling.