Commenting on the Labour Party announcement about betting shops, the Association for British Bookmakers said:
“This announcement has nothing to do with helping problem gamblers; it is simply about playing politics with the jobs of 40,000 people, and the enjoyment of eight million customers for no reason.
Only this week, new independent research showed a 40% drop in the level of problem gambling. The research also proved that betting operators do not target deprived areas and that gambling is more prevalent among those who earn the most and least prevalent among those who earn the least.
Gaming machines are not new and have been played and enjoyed by our customers for 12 years and no evidence has ever been produced to show they are any more addictive that any other product, whether a casino table game or scratch card.
While you could bet £100 in one go, hardly anyone does. The data from betting shop operators and machine manufacturers shows that the average customer plays for about 10-15 minutes and spends only £7.55 which is less than the price of a cinema ticket.
The 20 second speed cycle in a betting shop is actually the longest in the world, and is deliberately made that length in order to give players more time to reflect.
Betting shop operators are genuinely committed to helping people with problems.
That is why we have introduced a new Code for Responsible Gambling which puts genuine harm minimisation measures in place for the first time – this includes imposing mandatory limits on the amount a player can spend or play for, and has been hailed as “world-leading” by leading academics and experts.
We are always happy to meet with politicians to discuss any issues and to work together to find genuine ways to help problem gamblers, but banning certain products or closing down a retail sector that has been trading for 50 years just for political point scoring will not stop anyone becoming a problem gambler.”