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ABB puts jobs at the heart of FOBTs debate

15 April 2013

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"The government has promised an evidence-based policy review"

 

THE Association of British Bookmakers has said it had put player protection and jobs at the heart of its submission to the government's consultation on stakes and prizes for electronic gaming machines which closed on Tuesday.

The ABB claimed there would be significant betting shop closures and job losses if stakes and/or prizes for the machines were reduced due to pressure from opponents who argue they cause problem gambling.

The organisation's members have also offered to fund a fourth British Gambling Prevalence Study, to be carried out by the Gambling Commission, to add to the research being carried out on machines and machine players by the Responsible Gambling Trust.

In its submission to the government's triennial review the ABB claimed there was no empirical evidence of a causal link between problem gambling and any specific gambling product or products, nor that there was evidence that a reduction in stakes and prizes would have any positive effect in reducing problem gambling.

ABB chairman Neil Goulden said: "The government has promised an evidence-based policy review and we will hold them to that promise.

"There's very clear evidence that problem gambling is about the individual and not any specific gambling product or products, and that altering stakes and prizes is not an effective form of player protection. Nor does it balance the constant regulatory dilemma of allowing the vast majority of our eight million customers to enjoy their leisure time as they see fit, whilst protecting the small minority who do develop problems with gambling."

The ABB's submission also claimed that a reduction in stakes and prizes would hit not only the betting shop sector but racing and greyhound industries as well, along with creating illegal gambling.

In addition it outlined plans to introduce a "Code for Responsible Gambling in LBOs", advised by leading academics.

Goulden added: "In doing so, the ABB is putting consumer and player protection at the core of responsible gambling in the UK. We would warmly welcome constructive and positive dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders in developing our code."

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