Betting firm bosses were claiming that moves to allow players to set their own spending limit on slot machines was a positive step in dealing with gambling addiction this week.
The Association for British Bookmakers commented that a new range of measures being introduced will help to reduce the addictive nature of slot machines that give players the chance to wager up to £300 every minute on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT).
The new measures being introduced include enforced breaks for players so they are unable to play consistently on the machines for a prolonged period of time, training for staff where the slot machines are located to make them aware of players who might be suffering from addiction and automatic alerts that let staff know when a player has lost at least £250 or has been on the machine for more than 30 minutes.
However, critics of FOBTs have said that the new measures are simply a smokescreen to try and reduce the pressure on bookmakers and gambling firms to eradicate the slot machines, dubbed the crack cocaine of the gambling industry, from the market altogether.
Campaign for Fairer Gambling Member Adrian Parkinson said “They know, just as I do from my time running FOBTs and monitoring players, no punter voluntarily restricts their time and spend. It’s a smokescreen to hide the damage and destruction these machines are causing across communities and avoid the central debate about how to protect players.”
Chief Executive of the Association for British Bookmakers Dirk Vennix stated “We recognise growing concerns that some customers are spending too much money or too much time on gaming machines,’ he said.”
Vennix added “We want to take steps to protect them. That is why we have put together the code, which introduces revolutionary new harm minimisation measures, the likes of which have yet to be seen anywhere in the world.”
Speculation is rife that if the new measures are proven to work on the FOBTs then similar measures could soon be introduced at online casinos where players can enjoy a range of online slots that allow players to bet large sums of money over prolonged periods of time.