Despite outlining his positive experiences in amusement arcades, the Gambling Commission’s Tim Miller presented the decline of the public’s perception of gambling to the bacta Convention, stating the industry would do well to focus on more positive messaging after the Triennial Review’s conclusion.
While this may certainly be the case, audience members questioned the correlation between declining gambling reputation and the proliferation of FOBTs.
Following the conclusion of the Triennial Review, executive director of the Gambling Commission Tim Miller explained that “there is an opportunity to draw a line in the sand” and look at the positive messages the industry can put forward.
This statement came after a presentation showing the decline in the perception of gambling by the public, with Miller asserting that despite any efforts to the contrary, all will be tarred with the same brush.
“The perception of gambling is rapidly changing and rapidly deteriorating, and irrespective of where those harms may come from, irrespective of whether you think your products are a cause of that or not, the gambling industry has a shared reputation,” he said.
“If I’m quite candid about this, over the last few months if you were to do a Google search of the word Bacta, the messages you would see presented most fiercely there are the messages about FOBTs, for quite understandable reasons, the risk is though that drowns out some of your more positive messages, some of the arguments you want to make.
“As the debate develops on FOBTS and the review concludes, there is an opportunity to draw a line in the sand, stop lobbing stones at different parts of the industry – and the ABB have this exact same message – and to look at the positive messages you can put forward.”
Miller suggested what a key focus here could be: “To think back as my experiences as a ‘child gambler’, I shared with you an example where I think that may have taught me what responsible gambling was all about.
“Perhaps there’s actually much more your businesses can make of the opportunities you can provide to show young people that gambling can be be fun, and that gambling can be responsible. I think that’s actually a really positive and potentially exciting thing that you would be able to take forward.”
The Commission will also aim to do its bit to encourage new methods of social responsibility, aiming to provide operators the chance to trial fresh ideas.
“Importantly we will be encouraging further innovation and evaluation,” Miller concluded.
“We recognise as a regulator that need to make sure we take a proportionate and balanced approach so that you do have the freedom to innovate and see what works.
“I think particularly in the redemption category I want to ensure that you have got the space to try new initiatives without feeling the pressure that if it doesn’t work you will be hammered over the head by us or by others.
“If people are trying to do the right thing that needs to be welcomed, praised, and supported.”