Today, the UK’s major High Street Bookmakers and Gaming Machine Suppliers have committed to additional voluntary measures to further promote responsible gambling on gaming machines, by enhancing player controls.
Gaming Machine customers will be compelled to make a choice as to whether they wish to set a time and/or money limit prior to game play.
This will be achieved via a mandatory message requiring the player to either select limits or not and, for those who choose not to, automated machine alerts will be generated following 30 minutes of game play or, following the loss of £250.
These new measures have been introduced following recent research which revealed that the setting of self-imposed limits is the most effective way to help players remain in control. The data shows that while only a small percentage of players presently utilise the set limits functionality, a high percentage of these will stop gambling at or before the limit they have chosen.
Research and industry figures also show that “pre-commitment” is an important tool for people wishing to control or limit their gambling. 1
The industry has therefore, on a voluntary basis, concluded that in line with its commitment to the highest standards of responsible gambling, to increase the prominence of the set limits functionality.
These latest improvements to gaming controls are born from the player behaviour data now available post the implementation of the ABB’s Code for Responsible Gambling and, the independent research findings of the Responsible Gambling Trust. 2
These changes will also be supported by a focussed in-shop campaign to encourage more customers to set limits and, to see setting limits as an integral part of a normal approach to gaming machine play. The centrepiece of this campaign will be a Responsible Gambling Week in January 2015 which will coincide with the new measures being introduced at the end of the month.
James Henderson, CEO William Hill, Richard Glynn, CEO Ladbrokes, Carl Leaver, Group CEO Gala Coral and Andy McCue, CEO Designate Paddy Power said: “Evidence available from the current machine controls shows that voluntary limits help machine customers to stay in control of their gambling – so it’s up to us to encourage more people to make use of them. That is precisely what these new measures should do.”
Paul Darling Chairman of the ABB said: “We have listened closely to public and political concerns about gaming machines, and this action is building on our evolving commitment to responsible gambling measures. These are not minor changes, but significant and substantive improvements to player protection based on evidence. Our research says loud and clear that voluntary limits are the best way to ensure players stay in control, which is why we are acting decisively to promote them with our customers.
“We are determined to protect vulnerable people while at the same time offering fun and enjoyment to the millions of people in this country who enjoy betting.”
Over 40,000 retail staff have already been re-trained in responsible gambling measures over the last 12 months and, following this latest initiative, a further substantive training exercise will again be carried out in readiness for January.
Notes to editors
1 The latest industry figures show 75 per cent of players setting a monetary alert either stop playing or continue playing but do not put in any more money. And over 85 per cent of players setting a voluntary time limit either stop playing or stop putting in any more cash when they reach that limit.
2 Independent research carried out earlier this year by Professor Alex Blaszczynski of the University of Sydney commented positively on voluntary setting of limits as a means of controlling gambling.
The report, Operator Based Approaches to Harm Minimisation in Gambling, co-authored by Adrian Parke, Jonathan Parke and Jane Rigbye, found that “pre-commitment is a useful tool for a proportion of gamblers to assist in limiting time and money spent gambling.”
It continued: “Educating gamblers on the nature and aims of pre-commitment should be promoted widely to the general population of gamblers to increase its use and compliance.”
Hilary Douglas – Campaigns Director
Association of British Bookmakers
T: 07867 179 163/ 0207 434 2111