Sunderland academic backs gambling changes to reduce maximum stakes fixed-odds betting machines

A Sunderland psychologist has welcomed moves to reduce gambling stakes.

Dr Helen Knight, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Sunderland said gamblers have a primal need to chase the loss which has led to North East gamblers losing millions of pounds on controversial Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals.

The Government recently stepped in to reduce the maximum stake that can be gambled on the FOBT machines, often found in bookmakers across the UK.

The intervention comes amid concerns that North East gamblers are losing massive sums on the terminals, dubbed the ‘crack-cocaine of gambling’.

Currently, people can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on the electronic casino games, which Culture Secretary Matt Hancock labelled “a serious social blight”.

Reports suggest in the North East alone, gamblers lost a total of £43m to FOBTs in 2016. Over the past decade, the figure is estimated to be around £300m.

Dr Knight, said: “This is a very positive step by the government. If you look at the industry statistics, which you can find readily available on the Gambling Commission’s website, gaming machines, which include Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals, made a total gross yield of £2.7 billion, which was a 2.6% increase from the previous year.”

Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals are gaming machines which allow people to play virtual games at a terminal in the betting shop.

There are two categories of games available on the gaming machines betting shops are allowed. B3 games have a maximum stake of £2 whilst B2 games have a maximum stake of £100.

Dr Knight, said: “The psychology behind gambling is really interesting, and unfortunately, agen sbobet the gambling industry plays into many of these aspects of human behaviour.

“The leading theory relates to the idea that we learn to gamble. Conditioning is a concept wherein we learn to behave in certain ways via rewards and punishments.”

She said in gamling the positive rewards would be winning money when we win.

Dr Knight, added: “In addition, for machine gambling there is also often a cascade of bright lights, happy sounds and visual praise which adds to that positive reward.”

She said people who are stressed or worried can ofter lose these feelings when they are playing on gaming machines.

Also, she said humans are very immediate creatures, and the punishments from gambling, such as loss of job and family, do not occur immediately after placing a bet.”

On top of all of this, Dr Knight says that winning on betting machines activates the brain in a certain way.

She said: “Winning produces activation in a network of the brain called the mesolimbic dopamine reward network.

“This network has been vital for humans, evolutionarily speaking. We get a biological reward for engaging in certain behaviours which have helped us to survive and

reproduce – behaviours like eating and sexual activity. The problem is that winning a bet also produces activation in this same network.”

The Guardian view on betting advertising: not during the games

Images Marcus Rashford celebrates with England team-mates Phil Jones, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold during Thursday’s friendly match against Costa Rica at Elland Road.

The World Cup starts next week, a truly global festival that unites bookmakers all around the planet in pursuit of gamblers’ cash. Whichever team wins on the pitch, the firms which advertise on the virtual hoardings all around it and in the commercial breaks will profit. Sports gambling is a massive business, not just in this country; the more it spreads, the more it seems to be turning into a public health problem and one which is singularly resistant to effective regulation. Technology and austerity combine to make it dangerous in ways which the Labour politicians who liberalised gambling laws in the early part of this century could not have foreseen. There are really only two classes of people for whom gambling has a certain logic: those who can well afford their losses and those who can’t afford not to win because they have no reasonable prospects of making money otherwise.

Austerity diminishes, perhaps, the number of people who can really afford to gamble for fun, but greatly increases the number for whom anything less than a miracle seems inadequate. situs judi online Lotteries sell hope to people who have nothing else. It’s not a coincidence that betting shops cluster in the most deprived areas of our cities, where hardly any other commerce flourishes. At the same time technology has made more compelling, and sometimes compulsive, forms of betting easier to devise and trivial to manufacture. We have seen that in the development of fixed-odds betting terminals, whose destructive powers were at long last curbed last month, when Matt Hancock, the minister responsible, announced that the maximum stake would be lowered from £100 to £2. That was a brave and right decision. These machines are designed to be as hard as possible to walk away from and as easy as possible to play.

Hard though it is for an addict to walk away from a gambling machine, it is harder still to walk away from a mobile phone. Betting shops and betting advertising have moved into this space just as everything else has. The ability to bet on live sports events while you’re watching them on TV, or even on your phone screen, makes gambling easier and less special than ever, and that makes it more compulsive. The gambling industry is well aware of this and is doing its best to avert serious regulation, just as the tobacco industry did before it. Age controls, feeble advice in betting shop windows “When the fun stops, stop” and restricted advertising before the watershed all seem to be acts of self-regulation. But none of them can remotely counter the effect of unrestricted advertising during live sporting events such as the World Cup. Some 95% of televised football matches last year had gambling advertisements shown in their commercial breaks. These build on the excitement of the game in a way which makes perfect sense to the bookmakers, but ads which urge people to bet on the games they are watching should never be shown before the watershed. They mark the point where the fun stops – and they should stop now.