Conservative think-tank Respublica backs a £2 stake on FOBTs

Posted on October 17, 2017 by admin
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Abstention from gambling is key to recovery, and permanent abstention is the only viable practical long-term solution for guaranteed recovery, as it is with other addictions, says CFFG.

ResPublica, the well-respected think-tank operated by Philip Blond, propagates “Red Toryism” and the Big Society, which fits with Theresa May’s ambition to help those who are “just about managing”.

ResPublica this week published their academic report advocating for FOBT stake reduction to £2 based on the principles of addressing people, places and prosperity through Conservative values. The foreword was written by Treasury PPS Chris Philp, and the report was covered in The TimesThe Daily Mail and in the Mirror.

Meanwhile, the bookies are working hard to promote Responsible Gambling Week. “Let’s talk about responsible gambling” they suggest, as though telling customers to gamble responsibly should give them cover to offer irresponsible products like FOBTs, which allow customers to wager £100 every 20 seconds on casino games in high street betting shops.

Abstention from gambling is key to recovery, and permanent abstention is the only viable practical long-term solution for guaranteed recovery, as it is with other addictions. The term “responsible” gambling is a very destructive term to promote, as for those in the midst of addiction – which this term implies must be “irresponsible” – there is no such thing.

Everyone wants to gamble responsibly, no one needs to be told, and telling people will make very little difference. What will make a difference is understanding that addiction is a result of person, product and environment: government can do very little about the first, but can do something about the latter two. This is why reducing the maximum stake on the most addictive gambling product will prevent the harm associated with it.

While the “gambling establishment”, including the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, endorses the “Let’s talk about responsible gambling” approach, it does not even have a strategy to meet the demand for treatment. In order to get gambling addiction treatment on anything like the parity of funding with other addictions it could easily cost well over £100 million a year.

Meanwhile individuals and parties with interests in protecting their reputations, the status quo and gambling operator profits, are patting themselves on the back for failing to donate even the 0.1% they are required to. Just £8 million out of an expected £13 million was donated last year.

Dominic Lawson, writing for the Daily Mail – “Gambling firms targeting children are just as wicked as drug pushers” – exposed that the frequency of gambling being cited in divorce cases has risen from 1 in 15 in 2013 to 1 in 5 in 2016.

Melanie Philips, writing in The Times – “Wicked gambling firms exploit the weakest” -advocated that FOBTs and gambling ads should be banned to protect children and the poor.

The Guardian reported on “The multimillionaires making a packet out of British gamblers”, mentioning American Lorne Weil of Inspired Gaming, one of two FOBT suppliers, and Israeli Teddy Sagi of PlayTech, a gambling software company. They are probably billionaires though, like the other FOBT supplier, American Ronald Perelman, Chairman of the Board of Scientific Games.

Gambling was mentioned briefly at a DCMS Select Committee hearing with Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, Paul Farrelly, recommending Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT) research, as a counterweight to FOBT stake reduction. Is this MP unaware that the Campaign has identified the flaws in the industry-controlled RGT research and that a reduction to £2 a spin is Labour policy?

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