In response to media reports that there will be a review of gaming machines, the Association of British Bookmakers said:
‘We will continue to work with the Government, the Gambling Commission and charities on measures that will help problem gamblers.
The review should be evidence based and not unfairly penalise the majority who gamble responsibly and enjoy their leisure pursuit.
While 99.5 per cent of the adult population gamble responsibly, for those that do develop gambling problems, it is rarely, if ever, limited to just one form of gambling. Fixed Odds Betting Terminals have been played in betting shops for over 15 years and yet problem gambling levels have remained stable before and after their introduction, at 0.5% of the population.
We have voluntarily introduced a range of responsible gambling measures in the last two years that go far beyond what is required by law. We will continue to build on our work to date and develop new responsible gambling measures to help the minority who do get into problems and ensure that they seek the help that they need.
Betting shops, unlike other gambling outlets with gaming machines, do not sell alcohol, or open 24 hours a day and we don’t advertise our gaming machines. Our customers can set limits on the amount they spend and the time they play for. In July this year, we doubled the number of responsible gambling messages targeted at customers with mandatory warning alerts being displayed after 20 minutes of play or £150 spent.
Further, the total number of betting shops in the UK continues to decline. There are now fewer betting shops than at any time since 2003, with over 300 closing in the past two years and the number of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals has also fallen by 0.5% in the past year.
The average gross profit for bookmakers on gaming machines is equivalent to just £12 per hour, before any expenses and contribution to overhead, with an average loss on machines of just £6.75 and the average session lasting around 10 minutes.’