Report prepared for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consultation on changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, 2017

Sharman, Stephen, Turner, John and Roberts, Amanda (2018) Report prepared for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consultation on changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, 2017. Documentation. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

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Report prepared for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consultation on changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, 2017

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Abstract

Towards the end of 2017, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced a further 12-week review into proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures. Although addressing a range of components of gambling legislation, one of the more contentious issues to be addressed is the maximum stake size of B2 category games on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) that are found in Licensed Betting Offices (LBOs). The current limit is £100 per spin, with proposals being considered to reduce the maximum stake per spin to anything between £50 and £2.
Much has been written, said and tweeted about FOBTs in recent months and years. The term ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ is a phrase often coined in the UK media and associated commentary to describe FOBTs, however to date little evidence exists to suggest that this specific form of gambling is any more addictive, and thus creates more gambling related harm, than any other specific form of gambling. Whilst plenty of harrowing and extreme anecdotal evidence of FOBT related harm having devastating effects on individuals and families exists, there is little larger scale statistical evidence to support the anecdotal evidence. Furthermore, the term ‘gambling related harm’ is frustratingly vague and actual harm is notoriously difficult to measure. As such, it is difficult to measure the impact of gambling in general, and of specific forms of gambling, at an individual level on a large scale.
To provide a more detailed insight in to gambler behaviour, our research team from the Universities of East London and Lincoln have been working closely with the Gordon Moody Association (GMA). Situated across two sites in Dudley and Beckenham, GMA is the UK’s only gambling specific residential treatment centre. Although holding a wealth of historical and current data on treatment seeking pathological gamblers, GMA had not previously embarked on an academic collaboration to analyse this data.
Through this collaboration, we have been able to track patterns in gambler behaviour between 2000-2015, a timeframe encompassing both the announcement and implementation of the Gambling Act of 2005, and the introduction of FOBTs in to LBOs. Our analysis of this data is comprehensive and wide ranging. However, for succinctness and clarity, this submission will only refer to data relating to changes the forms of gambling identified as being problematic by treatment seeking pathological gamblers, and mental health variables.
Whilst we acknowledge that the research presented does not refer directly to the impact of stake size, or how any stake size reduction will influence gambling behaviour and gambling related harm, the authors believe that is of benefit to the DCMS to receive a submission that provides some wider context and details some changes in both pathological gambler’s preferred form of gambling, and the mental health of treatment seeking gamblers.

Keywords:Gambling, Disordered Gambling, FOBT
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:38233
Deposited On:01 Nov 2019 14:44

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