Despite correctly anticipating a lack of stakes and prize changes, the Bingo Association has criticised the DCMS over the B2 maximum stake 12-week consultation period, while also expressing disappointment with its attitude regarding contactless payments.
The Bingo Association has criticised the DCMS’s decision to run a 12-week consultation period regarding the maximum stake of FOBTs, stating that the industry will suffer more pain and negativity as a result.
Chief executive Miles Baron expressed some frustration at the outcome.
“The BA would have preferred a more definitive stance from DCMS on B2’s,” he said.
“We will now enter a further period of fractious debate which may continue to attract unwanted negative attention on the gambling sector, and therefore the licensed bingo sector. Eventually I expect the B2 stake to end up closer to £2 than £50 but how much more pain do we have to go through to get there and how much more negative publicity will this create?”
Taking a phrase from Tolkien, Baron added that the overall tone of the consultation document “thou shalt not pass”, which he believes is the result of the debate around FOBTs.
“The BA asked for no stake and prize changes in the consultation because we recognised current regulatory sentiment, which was that there was little appetite for change without further evidence of the impact of enhanced social responsibility measures.In that sense we were not disappointed and anticipated correctly,” he continued.
“There will clearly be more focus on B3 machines, however parity for all Cat B machines with regard to social responsibility messages and interventions is something bingo is already looking at both as a sector and as part of the ‘Product and Play’ messaging work streams via IGRG and BeGambleaware.”
Whilst understanding that social responsibility was the dominating force throughout the consultation document and the reasons for it, Baron was still dispirited by the verdict on electronic payments and contactless – which many in the industry believe will actually aid social responsibility by providing data for increased player monitoring.
“The BA was disappointed with the assessment regarding the enablement of contactless on gaming machines as a ‘backward step’,” he concluded.
“The BA will however continue to engage on this issue with regulators to see whether there any circumstances where the introduction of electronic payments on debit cards may be possible.”