The growing and mainly political furor around the appeal of fixed odds betting terminals has persuaded the British government to order a review that could result in further restrictions, reports the Daily Telegraph. The Association of British Bookmakers responded to the announcement, saying: “We have noted the Coalition statement issued by Don Foster MP today in respect of a review of B2 gaming machines in betting offices.
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“There is no empirical evidence that B2 gaming machines cause problem gambling. To the contrary they are a popular product enjoyed by millions of people across the country and B2 machines have been located in betting shops for 10 years without any discernible increase in problem gambling levels. Indeed the 2010 Prevalence Study shows that 70% of B2 customers play once a month or less which is hardly reflective of an addictive product.
“Nevertheless the ABB would welcome independent research that will deal, once and for all, with some of the myths and more outrageous claims leveled against B2 machines.”
“The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board has already prioritized research into Category B machines and is working on the project with the Responsible Gambling Trust. The gambling industry is fully committed to independent research and will make data and other information available to the researchers. We are as keen as anyone to see the outcomes of the research so that there can be a proper evidence based debate around gambling policy, particularly in respect of machines.
“At the same time it should not be forgotten that eight million people visit betting shops each year and that the industry supports 100,000 jobs and contributes GBP 3.2 billion per annum to the UK economy. In these difficult times economic growth and jobs are vital to the UK economy and should not be put at risk by social policy which is not fully supported by independent empirical evidence.”
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