£2 stake restriction would be ‘massively premature’

Dr Adrian Parke
Dr Adrian Parke

A leading researcher on a study that found higher staking levels impairs a player’s decision making abilities has said that its findings shouldn’t be used as proof that problem gambling would decline if FOBTs were restricted to a £2 stake.

Interviewed in the latest issue of Betting Business interactive (available here), Dr Adrian Parke of the University of Lincoln said that it wasn’t wise to use the research in that way.

He explained: “To conclude that this experiment provides evidence that reducing maximum stake size to £2, as a way of reducing problem gambling, is overtly naïve and massively premature. This study is the first piece of a thousand piece puzzle in trying to understand the role that specific structural characteristics play in creating gambling-related harm.

“Fundamentally, the next step is to see how the effect of stake size interacts with other features of gambling products such as event frequency and prize structure, as well as the interaction with the physical and social gambling environment.”

The Role of Stake Size in Loss of Control in Within-Session Gambling’, one of the series of studies put out last month by the Responsible Gambling Trust, found that participants gambling with £20 stakes made worse decisions than those at a lower £2 staking levels. As Parke pointed out, the quality of decisions being made after the £2 per bet condition was poorer than after the control condition where participants risked no money. “In short, even after gambling at lower stakes the quality of decision making was impaired,” he said.

Parke said that the real value of this research is that it ‘clearly demonstrates that structural characteristics, such as stake size, can affect processes integral to self-control, over a short space of time’. “We are long way from having definitive statements about the relationship between stake size and loss of control within a gambling session but we have made the first, and in our opinion the most important step.”


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