Major flaws revealed in government’s attempt to tackle ‘crack cocaine’ gambling machines

Major flaws revealed in government’s attempt to tackle ‘crack cocaine’ gambling machines

February 20, 2020 Off By Kristin Simmons

Major flaws revealed in government’s attempt to tackle ‘crack cocaine’ gambling machines


The government has set a plan into motion in an attempt to deal with gambling addiction, however, there have been experts who predict that this may only be a temporary solution as it would just end up redirecting this issue to a different industry. It is now a requirement that these ‘crack cocaine’ gambling machines must follow in which its stakes need to be lowered to a staggering £2 from £100. There has been a concern that the addicts will just look for an alternative to go to which will be just as bad.


The department in charge of this, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have been alerted of this ‘crack cocaine’ gambling machines concern, but so far has not made any intention known to address the issue. This neglect may prove that this policy might not work out as it was intended to. An expert in the field regarding behavior related to gambling, Dr Heather Wardle, has applauded the effort put into dealing with gambling addiction but he was concerned about the non-existence of any follow-up assessment on the effect of the policy. He believes that these actions can only be fruitful if there is feedback from the people who are affected in order to get a greater grasp on the impact of such policies.


It was reported by the Regulatory Policy Committee that with the lowering of stakes to £2, various other sectors in the gambling industry will gain up to £440m as a result of addicts moving to other alternatives. The report also stated that the actual figure may even be higher as this was only mere speculation. The assessment on the effects of the policy proposed by DCMS was also deemed to be unacceptable when it was analyzed by the RPC. It was then approved after it was amended along with a list of provisions from the RPC. The RPC had also voiced their concerns about the assessment in general.


An author who previously had two and a half decades worth of experience dealing with gambling addicts, Mike Chatha, has remarked that any solutions to this problem should not focus on separate cases but should look at it as a whole. He gave an example by saying that dealing with alcohol addiction cannot be done by just prohibiting vodka alone as it just does not work. Mike Chatha had his own experience in dealing with gambling addiction for around ten years, he applauded this move by the government and saw it as a small miracle.


It has been foreseen by the DCMS that the £1.3bn that will be lost annually on FOBTs will migrate to other alternatives in gambling the moment the stake cut is put in place. Many regulators have already voiced out their opinions on how the other substitutes will be just as detrimental as FOBTs. The government allegedly had prior knowledge that this issue would occur, and they realize that the shift to other gambling alternatives may consist of different gambling products or external betting shops. They also acknowledged the possibility that various other sectors in the industry would be able to profit from this move. However, after all is said and done, there was no action taken to address these concerns and issues.


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