The news from the Gambling Commission recommending a £30 stake or less on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) is surprising, and quite frankly, very disappointing. Whilst a stake reduction is a step in the right direction, merely reducing this to £30 is still dangerously high.
This conclusion from the Gambling Commission is drawn from a narrow interpretation of a limited range of evidence and focuses on the theoretical rather than the reality. With a 20-second play duration on FOBTs, the proposed £30 stake will generate a loss of £90 within one minute. Within ten minutes, it is £900. Such comparable high losses to the original £100 stake does not do enough to protect those consumers who are vulnerable. The Gambling Commission’s use of average losses in their conclusions mask the extremes where problematic gamblers come to the most harm with high losses at high frequency. Within the same advice document, the Gambling Commission also advocate the use of a £2 stake on B2 slot games, so its recommendation of a £30 stake limit overall is surprising furthermore.
It would be short-sighted by the Government to see this recommendation from the Gambling Commission as the definitive view, especially with so much new evidence – including the report from bacta when working with Cebr, the economics consultancy, to show that a reduction to a £2 stake is the only way forward.