High Losses on B2s Continue at Low Stakes Says Bacta

06/04/2018

High-loss sessions on Fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) remain prevalent at low staking levels, and are only practically eradicated with stakes at or below £2, new analysis shows.

In response to the Gambling Commission’s advice to Government that the stake on FOBTs should be ‘below £30’, bacta has explored the link between high loss sessions and lower average stakes.

Based on the Gambling Commission’s session loss data for 2015/6, it has found (relating to B2 only machines):

•    When average stakes were below £30, there were still 136,561 sessions in which a consumer lost over £500

•    This means over 17% of all high-loss sessions (>£500) were with average stakes at or below £30

•    High-losses continue well below the £30 level. When average stakes were between £10.01-£20, there were 40,926 high-loss sessions; at £5.01-£10.00 there were 5,613.

•    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.

Overall, there were 797,657 sessions on B2 only machines in 2015/6 where a consumer lost in excess of £500, the level considered ‘high-loss’ according to the DCMS.

The analysis reinforces the need for a £2 stake on FOBTs if the priority is harm minimisation. The Government has committed to reduce the FOBT stake limit from its current level of £100, and is expected to announce the new level soon.

A £2 stake limit has previously been backed by 93 local authorities, the Royal Society for Public Health and the Church of England’s General Synod. A recent YouGov survey of over 100 MPs found 62% were in favour of a £2 stake.

John White, CEO of bacta, comments: “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.”

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