Ministers resigning, virtue signallers kicking off and nobody interested in the evidence, this is the UK 2018. If politicians were bothered, then there are solutions in front of them.
As an industry, the lending market had to change dramatically in 2014-15. We did, and not for the best. The politicians who were virtue signalling for those changes suddenly got up and left before the results came in. This is the lesson that the gambling industry should take from our experiences.
Politicians are not interested in the results, and they are here to signal their virtue and then flee.
Similarities to The Lending Sector
If someone was to look at our industry, insolvencies skyrocketed after the payday cap was introduced in 2015. Nobody ever mentions this; it's an inconvenient truth.
The Chancellor fudged his views on FOBTs, he said that he would bring in a limit (£2 per spin down from £100) but in 2 years time. One of the Government Minister's - Tracey Crouch - resigned over this. Ironically we don't think she was one of the Virtue Signaller on this campaign. We think she genuinely believed in this cause and thought that she was helping - fair enough. We still think she is factually wrong, but agree with her stance that if she can't support something against her conscious, then the only option is to resign.
We think there are better ways to find a solution. Why doesn't the Government split test the limit?
The Government could designate five random towns and place the limit on any FOBTs within them. They could then observe the fallout. They could observe if people do actually stop gambling, stop gambling as much, or switch to other forms of gambling such as horse racing or gambling unlimited stakes on the internet whilst unsupervised.
Without testing, without this data, the Government could be making things worse by placing limits on FOBTs. All this is before they take into account the massive drops in income to local authorities through revenue raised by FOBTs. This shortfall will have to be replaced and won't be replaced if gamblers take their money online.
Let this test run for six months and see what happens. Who could argue against that? Oh yes, those more interested in making a name for themselves than actually really helping people.