Bacta urges UKGC to reconsider its FOBTs stanceReading Time: 2 minutes

Trade association for the UK’s amusement and gaming machine industry, Bacta, has urged the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to review its stance on the maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

The UKGC released a report last month in which it detailed its support for the government’s proposal to cut the maximum stake on slot games to £2 and non-slot games to £30. Bacta believes that only setting all stakes at £2 would address the problems around high-loss sessions on FOBTs.

Its model projects that industry losses from a £2 stake could be up to 47 per cent lower than suggested by the Government’s initial impact assessment, with a £335 million reduction in annual Gross Gambling Yield to high street betting shops, against the Government’s estimate of £639 million,” said the report from Bacta.

Based on the Gambling Commission’s session loss data for 2015/6, Bacta found that when average stakes were below £30, there were still 136,561 sessions in which a consumer lost over £500, which means that over 17 per cent of all high-loss sessions (>£500) were with average stakes at or below £30. “Only with a stake at or below £2 are these high-loss sessions effectively eliminated, with just 14 instances where the stake average was between 51p and £2,” said Bacta.

John White, CEO of Bacta, commented: “We were deeply concerned by the Gambling Commission’s advice that a stake level of up to £30 should be considered on FOBTs excluding slots. This analysis reinforces those worries, demonstrating the clear link between high-loss sessions on FOBTs and stake levels of between £5 and £30.

It could not be clearer that only a £2 stake maximum can help protect vulnerable people from major losses on these machines, which are the source of so much needless and avoidable harm. A £2 stake is the only safe and sensible option to limit the damage caused by FOBTs, and we urge Government to acknowledge this and act.

Source: European Gaming Media and Events