The Responsible Gambling Trust has published what it describes as ‘world-leading and independently conducted research’ into gaming machines in licensed betting offices that shows it is possible to distinguish between problem and non-problem gambling behaviour.
The programme of research was commissioned by the Responsible Gambling Trust to build the knowledge base available to identify harmful machine play and to understand what measures might limit harmful play without impacting on those who do not exhibit harmful behaviours.
The research has been conducted independently by leading experts in gambling behaviour and social research, and reviewed by a panel of international academics to ensure it meets the standards expected of high quality academic research. The findings of the research have been provided to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Gambling Commission to inform policy decisions they may wish to make with regard to these machines. The findings will be presented to the industry at the Responsible Gambling Trust’s annual ‘harm minimisation’ conference on 10 December.
Marc Etches, Chief Executive of the Responsible Gambling Trust, said: “This research speaks for itself. The government, the gambling regulator and the industry all asked us to provide wholly independent research using industry-held data to help inform policy decisions and we have delivered a ground-breaking set of papers in just ten months. When we started this programme there was no credible research into gaming machines in licensed betting offices. Our understanding of these machines and the way people use them is now greatly enhanced.
“The bookmaking industry deserves credit for opening itself up to scrutiny. We hope that everyone will consider carefully how the findings of this ground-breaking research can be used to help all gamblers to make better informed decisions and, in particular, to protect those that are vulnerable to gambling-related harm.”
Neil Goulden, Chairman of the Responsible Gambling Trust, said: “The researchers have shown that it is possible to distinguish between problem and non-problem gaming machine play, and they have provided many important insights about player behaviour. This research has huge potential to inform the industry’s approach to minimising gambling-related harm and we strongly urge the industry to make every effort to improve how problem behaviour is more effectively monitored and managed in the future.”
Professor Alex Blaszczynski, Chairman of the independent review panel, said: “It is important to highlight the substantive and world-leading contribution to our understanding of problem gambling made by this research. This programme represents the first collaborative endeavour between multiple industry operators and independent researchers. It is of outstanding significance.”