Responsible Gambling Trust to Research FOBT Issue

In light of recent allegations by the UK anti-gambling lobby, the Responsible Gambling Trust is to conduct a research into the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) and their alleged addictive effect on punters.

It appears that the current evidence has a margin of error thanks to which both pro and anti-machine groups to argue their case.

Assessing the situation, Responsible Gambling Trust chief executive Marc Etches stated that "There is a dearth of evidence at the moment and there's a particular interest in category B machines.

"We are committed to filling that gap. It will require the co-operation of the industry while being completely independent of it to make it meaningful and credible."

According to him, the organization will start the research in early 2013, and it is currently negotiating with the industry what data they would share with the Trust, whose main goal is to minimize problem gambling.

The charity trust is mainly funded by the gambling industry through voluntary contributions from trustees such as broadcaster Liz Barclay, Ladbrokes boss Richard Glynn and Carl Leaver from Gala Coral. However, despite this fact, the trust acts as an independent body.

The research that is to be conducted by the trust is in line with the request made by UK Gambling Commission chairman Philip Graf last month, in which he said more research should be done into betting terminals rather than relying on simple anecdotal evidence.

Expressing satisfaction with the news of the study, the Association of British Bookmakers chief executive Dirk Vennix said: "There is no empirical evidence that B2 gaming machines cause problem gambling. But we would welcome independent research that will deal, once and for all, with some of the myths and more outrageous claims."

The government is to announce its decision about a recent Parliamentary investigation into gambling, which suggested raising the limit on betting machines allowed per shop, at the end of the month.

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