In a bid to farther their efforts to combat gambling-related harm, gaming operators through a newly formed association have introduced a ‘time out’ or ‘cooling-off’ period on electronic gaming machines. This is mandatory and it will be implemented across all high street betting shops in the United Kingdom.

This new responsible gambling measure is expected to have a profound impact on gambling control in the country where complaints regarding problem gambling have skyrocketed in recent years. Its success is almost guaranteed thanks to a consensus between close to 90 percent of the United Kingdom’s gambling market that are members of the trade association.

How It Will Work

The new gaming measure is based on an Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS) which will be built into the United Kingdom’s fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). These have been the source of controversy. In fact, several measures have been introduced in order to regulate them with one of the most notable being the reduction of the maximum betting amounts on the terminals.

APAS has been in development for a couple of years and the sole purpose of its creation is the monitoring and reporting of potentially harmful gambling behaviors. In essence, it is a real-time algorithm that closely examines certain aspects of player behavior on the gaming machines. In case the said player portrays harmful behavior, the algorithm then pauses the games and displays an on-screen alert. It also alerts the available staff members who then proceed to take appropriate action.

“I am delighted to launch these new measures today as part of Responsible Gambling Week. The Betting and Gaming Council has as its mission statement raising standards and this technology will create an environment that promotes safer play,” the Betting and Gaming Council’s chairperson explained.

The industry association further elaborated that the newly unveiled responsible gambling measure is a demonstration of the operators’ commitment to ensuring their customers get treated to safe and secure gaming experiences. Working alongside already existing measures such as on-screen prompts as well as time and spending limits, the time out periods will be a huge boost for the battle against gambling-related harm.

Can It Work?

The United Kingdom has had a rather unfortunate track record when it comes to combating problem gambling, underage gambling as well as gambling addiction among others. While the new measure is not the ultimate solution to the problem, it is definitely going to have a significant impact. This is especially because of the nature of FOBTs – they are one of the gaming sectors associated with lots of cases of gambling-related harm.