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FOBT £50 regulation analysis

GambleAware publishes further analysis of machine data that examines the impact of the £50 regulations.  

London, 3 February: New research, funded by GambleAware, indicates that 'nudging' players towards a lower maximum stake of £50 has not necessarily mitigated harm or made their play more responsible. The study, conducted by Professor David Forrest at the University of Liverpool and Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford, evaluated the impact of the ‘£50 regulations’ which were introduced in April 2015. Under the regulations, player protection measures were introduced limiting FOBT players wishing to wager more than £50 per spin to using pre-paid loyalty cards, or paying over the counter, in order to do so. The research found that the new conditions were ineffective in reducing harm in those particular players. The researchers also concluded that it may be optimistic to just focus on the stake, and not also on speed of play or mechanisms for paying, in order to reduce gambling-related harm.

Professor Ian McHale said: “In the short term, the new £50 regulations coincided with a dramatic drop in the number of £100 stakes on FOBTs. However, these were soon replaced by an increase in the number of £50 stakes with the result that total amount staked returned to almost the same level as before. The average session duration and number of plays per session increased following the regulations, and we found no evidence of a change to the increasing trend in the frequency of high loss session. These findings suggest that future measures to protect vulnerable play may need to consider all dimensions of the gambling architecture including stake limits, prize sizes and speed of play.”

Marc Etches, Chief Executive of GambleAware said: “GambleAware is publishing this report at a time when the Government is conducting a review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures. We note that the authors’ conclusions support the notion that a coherent supply-side policy approach targeting cost of play as a means to protect players must account for all parameters contributing to how much a consumer can lose.”

Read the announcement here and the report here.