FOBTs: Common sense maximum stake backed by high street data

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A maximum stake of £2 would all but eliminate losses of more than £100 per session on FOBTs, according to research by Landman Economics.


The study, seen by The Times, used Gambling Commission data supplied by high-street bookmakers to examine the proportion of sessions that resulted in losses of £100 and £200 at maximum stake levels of £50, £30, £20 and £2.

The analysis found that players who bet with a stake of £50 lost more than £100 in nine out of ten sessions. Furthermore,it revealed that sessions with a maximum stake of £2 delivered no losses of more than £100.

Almost 33 per cent of sessions with a maximum stake of £20 delivered losses greater than £100, and 6 percent delivered losses greater than £500.

When the maximum stake was increased to £50, 93 percent of sessions ended with a loss of more than £100 and in 78 percent of cases the losses were greater than £500.

In Autumn’s consultation document, the Department for Digital,Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said that stake reduction would “reduce the potential for large session losses and therefore [reduce] potentially harmful impacts on players and their wider communities”.

However, the DCMS set the definition for a “large-scale loss” at £500, attracting criticism that the figure was too high.

“There are good grounds for believing that DCMS’s definition of “large-scale losses” as losses of more than £500 is too high a threshold,” the report by Landman Economics concluded. “Only a maximum stake limit of £2 completely eliminates large-scale losses.”

The report also found that the average loss of a FOBT user was £192 a month compared with £22 for players of other machines such as fruit machines in pubs that have a £2 limit.

Coming shortly before the DCMS’ announcement on FOBTs maximum stake is anticipated,the research by Landman Economics focuses on gambling related harm – a focus highlighted by Bacta throughout last year,and reiterated by the DCMS in its consultation document.

Rather than looking at the statistically low and stable rates of problem gambling,the DCMS showed in Autumn last year that reducing gambling related harm – such as “large-scale losses” – is its top priority.

With that in mind, Landman Economics’ latest research, using data from high-street betting shops, proves what many campaigners against FOBTs have said all along: Maximum stake parity on the high-street is common sense.


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