Campaign for Fairer Gambling response to an “independent” report commissioned by the Association of British Bookmakers that claims deprived areas have the lowest share of betting shops
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has again attempted to mislead the public by commissioning a report carried out by the Local Data Company. The report suggests that betting shops do not target deprived areas, despite the Campaign for Fairer Gambling’s analysis, released last month, showing that – even when controlling for population density – there are more than twice the number of betting shops in the poorest boroughs compared with the most affluent.Neither the ABB nor the Local Data Company has published its methodology or the report in full. Any research that has been commissioned by the bookmakers is likely to be seriously flawed, based on previous information submitted to Government. NERA Economic Consulting found that the economic modelling used in the bookmakers’ submission to the Government’s Triennial Review of gaming machines stakes and prizes last year, carried out by RS Business Modelling, significantly “overstated” the impact of a stake reduction on fixed odds betting terminals from £100 to £2 per spin.
The report, published by NERA Economic Consulting this week, indicated the potential economic impact of reducing the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals could be as low as 700 shop closures, and could lead to a net increase of up to 2,400 jobs in the wider economy.
The ABB’s submission to a Government consultation claimed that 7,800 betting shops and 39,000 jobs would be “at-risk” if there was a reduction in FOBT maximum stake from £100 to £2 per spin – bringing them in line with all other high street gaming machines. However, NERA described the methodology used to determine this as “flawed”.
A spokesperson from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling said: “The bookmakers can produce as many misleading reports as they like by manipulating data, but all people need to do is walk down their high street to know that the proliferation of betting shops is real, it’s happening in our most deprived areas, and it’s driven by fixed odds betting terminals – the crack cocaine of gambling. The Government must reduce the maximum stake on these machines to £2 per spin.”