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UK FOBTs Self-Exclusion Scheme Not Efficient

- December 18, 2017 By Oliver Young -

The UKGC will have to alter the programme.

The concentration of FOBTs per capita is pretty heavy in Grimsby.

The UK Gambling Commission has made the news on more than few occasions in the past year and it is clear that the UK regulator and probably the most reputable licencing body in the world intends on enforcing the standards and procedures that are already part of the UK legislative framework. Moreover, as legislators are already considering introducing certain changes.

UK institutions have already concluded that there are certain aspects in which customers’ protection and the overall standards need to be improved and the Commission will have a very important role in the upcoming period. Many operators have already been fined, as a result of the decision to introduce stricter fines, and that trend is likely to continue if they don’t adhere to the industry standards.

Undercover Reported Tested the System

The Commission also criticised operators that they haven’t done enough to tackle problem gambling, stating that operators should offer a greater degree of protection to players who have a problem or who are at risk of becoming problem gamblers. Now, the UKGC has concluded that operators have inefficient self-exclusion policies. Operators should stop problem gamblers from accessing their products and services and self-exclusion can be a very effective tool to achieve that, if the policy is executed in the proper manner.

A reporter went undercover presenting himself as a person with a gambling problem, yet he managed to place wagers at numerous offline locations in Grimsby, a town that has a very high concentration of betting shops with FOBTs.

The reporter who went undercover has previously opted out from FOBTs, using the self-exclusion programme which was set by the Commission. And the point of this scheme was to enable people who have a problem to opt out of multiple operators at the same time. The programme was introduced this year. According to the provisions of the programme, every person who has previously opted out should not be able to place wagers at FOBTs, but the reporter was able to play despite the fact that he excluded himself.

Problem Gambling and FOBTs Are Tightly Linked

The outcome of this case clearly shows that the programme isn’t as effective as it was supposed to be, but also that local operators aren’t diligent enough when it comes to protecting problem gamblers.

The reporter managed to visit 17 different locations before he was asked to leave the facility by a member of staff. The reporter stated that many staff members actually attempted to make him feel better about gambling, suspecting that their aim was to encourage him to wager more.

All of this proves that problem gambling is definitely one of the biggest problems in the industry, but it also underlines why fixed odds betting terminals are considered to be the most dangerous form of gambling in the country. Many of the people in the UK who have a problem are addicted to FOBTs, and many of them live in poor and deprived neighbourhoods.

The Government has announced that it will reduce the maximum amount that a player might stake during one minute, but education and protection will also be offered, both to those who are already addicted and those who might become.

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