Bookmakers call on arcade owners to clean up their act to reduce the risk of problem gambling
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) is today calling on amusement arcade owners to catch up with bookmakers by encouraging people to gamble more responsibly on gaming machines.
The move comes after new evidence published last week (Feb 9) by the Gambling Commission revealed gamblers are at greater risk of losing more money and playing for a longer time on gaming machines in arcades than on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in betting shops.
The findings from the independent regulator found that the percentage of sessions on gaming machines lasting longer than two hours were 67% higher in arcades than in betting shops, and that amusement arcade gaming machines returned less money to players.
Gaming machines in betting shops require all customers to decide whether to set a limit before they can start playing and are subject to mandatory time and spend alerts.
Responsible gambling messages are displayed on machine screens in betting shops for at least 25% of the time. And, unlike amusement arcades, cash machines are not in betting shops.
Betting shops have developed Player Awareness Systems (PAS) that allow operators to monitor play for recognised ‘markers of harm’, enabling staff to interact earlier with customers who may be at risk.
In a statement, the ABB said:
“It is time the amusement arcade industry cleaned up its act and got its house in order. Arcade owners should be doing far more to support responsible gambling.
“This research from the Gambling Commission clearly shows that people can lose more money, more quickly in an amusement arcade than a betting shop.
“The evidence also revealed that the biggest session losses for customers across all gaming machines occur between 9am and 10am in adult gaming centres.”
“In a betting shop, gaming machine players are able to set their own limits on what they spend or time they play for, and they are supervised by a highly trained staff – staff who can spot and help people getting into difficulty.
“Unlike arcades, we do not advertise gaming machines in our windows, and the machines themselves have screens with responsible gambling information and details of how to get help.
“It is clearer than ever that betting shops continue to provide the safest place to gamble, and it is about time other gambling institutions upped their game.”