The BBC has launched an alarming attack on gaming machines in bingo halls. A report for the Victoria Derbyshire programme, also hosted on the BBC News website, alleges that B3 machines are the cause of social harm, quoting two gambling addicts who claim to have been affected by them.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he article complains that machines are often placed in a location near the entrance, before you reach the central bingo hall itself. Perhaps preferring that these low stakes machines, which are central to the viability of the bingo industry, be tucked away in a corner.
Although the piece then goes on to quote two anecdotal reports from recovering gambling addicts, the testimony from Mary may concern operators in the sector, who are constantly looking to ensure that their responsible gambling controls are top notch. “Mary said she had never seen staff intervene to warn people about gambling responsibility, or ask them to take a break from the machines,” report the BBC.
It is important that gambling regulations strike the right balance between allowing the industry to contribute to the economy and enable people to bet responsibly, whilst ensuring consumers and communities are protected.
Bingo Association chief executive, Miles Baron, issued a defence of the industry and was quoted in the article saying: “At the end of the day if customers didn’t want to use [gambling machines], if there wasn’t demand for them, then we wouldn’t provide them and they wouldn’t be there. It is not a massive cause of concern, because levels of problem gambling in bingo have remained stable.”
The DCMS also issued a response to the BBC, a spokesperson saying: “It is important that gambling regulations strike the right balance between allowing the industry to contribute to the economy and enable people to bet responsibly, whilst ensuring consumers and communities are protected.”