“Flashing lights and music turns rats into problem gamblers” said the University of British Colombia (UBC) in their recently published paper in the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers built a “rat casino” to determine whether sounds and flashing lights influenced behaviour.
A researcher noted that “scientific models are decades behind the casinos” and “anyone who has ever designed a casino game or played a gambling game will tell you that of course sound and light cues keep you more engaged…” British FOBTs in betting shops have taken the dangerous casino game roulette, added enhanced audio and visual features to engage gamblers more, and it is played much faster than the live casino game, making FOBT roulette much more addictive.
The evidence that FOBTs are the most addictive form of gambling has been available since 2010, but was hidden and ignored by the Gambling Commission, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the so-called “Responsible” Gambling Strategy Board and the so-called “Responsible” Gambling Trust”. The Association of British Bookmakers and the Senet Group, which the bookies are behind, both claim to promote “responsible” gambling, but publicly contradict this evidence.
Whilst the Senet Group claims to promote “responsible gambling”, this message is directed solely at the consumer, and ignores the products that the gambling industry provide – ones, like FOBTs, clearly designed for addiction.
Where else in the world can you gamble £300 a minute on casino games on the high street? As a recent article in the Times pointed out, PM David Cameron understands the dangers of addiction, but has so far kept the bookies happy by avoiding a proper look at FOBTs, which he promised the House a few years ago!