Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 7th February 2005.

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Photo of Julie Kirkbride Julie Kirkbride Conservative, Bromsgrove

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

(1) when she received a copy of the Association of British Bookmakers report on fixed odds betting terminals; and what assessment her Department has made of its findings;

(2) what conclusions her Department has reached on the impact of high stake slot machines, with particular reference to fixed odds betting terminals, on problem gambling;

(3) what assessment she has made of evidence from Gamcare on the effect of fixed odds betting terminals on the Gamcare helpline for problem gamblers; and whether she is re-examining the voluntary code drawn up with bookmakers in the light of that evidence.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport and Tourism), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

The research commissioned by Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) was shared with Government in November 2004. I sent a summary of the report to all members of Standing Committee B on the Gambling Bill on 6 January 2005.

DCMS has commissioned a peer review of the ABB's research and will make the results of this review available shortly.

No policy decisions will be made on the basis of a single piece of research.

High stake slot machines, including FOBTs, remain on probation and we will continue to adopt a cautious approach. Government will not hesitate to act should there be sound evidence of harm.

I understand that Gamcare is in the process of compiling its Care Services report, which will include information on helpline calls regarding fixed odds betting terminals. I await the publication of this report with interest.

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