The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has warned that any changes to betting shop regulations to tackle problem gambling should be ‘based on facts, not scaremongering’.
In response to the government’s new plans to impose greater restrictions on gaming machines, gambling advertising and LBO planning laws, the ABB has accused the government of failing to listen to the one million voters who petitioned Downing Street this week to call for a proportionate response to the gambling industry
ABB chief executive Dirk Vennix said that the new announcement, on top of the recent punitive tax increase on betting machines, will further restrict growth for the sector and mean hundreds of shops and thousands of jobs are now at risk: “The proposed changes to the way customers are able to stake more than £50 will impose extra costs on the industry whilst there is no evidence to show that restricting B2 stakes will do anything to minimise problem gambling. Limiting access to one product just means the vast majority of responsible gamblers will be inconvenienced and problem gamblers will gamble on other products.”
He added: “We also want to work constructively with the Government and Gambling Commission to keep problem gambling at the record low levels. Because we share the same objective – that one problem gambler is one too many. That’s why we want to work with all parties to build the best possible harm prevention framework.”
Vennix said that the industry’s new Code of Conduct for Player Protection has already had a significant impact with breaks in play, increased customer interaction and more self-exclusions and that the ABB is looking forward to seeing the results of the independent research into problem gambling which are being carried out by Nat Cen, because ‘regulatory decisions have to be based on empirical evidence’.
He added: “We will await the LCCP consultation, and hope this is based on a proper regulatory impact assessment.”