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“Gambling apps more dangerous than FOBTs” study finds

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“Gambling apps more dangerous than FOBTs” study finds 24th February 2019

A study has found that smartphone gambling apps are more dangerous than fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) for people with addiction problems.

The study, published in the academic journal European Addiction Research, found that because users check their phones frequently throughout the day – referred to as ‘snacking’ – mobile gamblers tend to bet more often, even after suffering repeated losses.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, a spokesman for gambling reform and co-founder of Gamban, an app that blocks gambling websites, said: “Our gambling laws were written before smartphones even existed, and at a time when internet gambling was only getting started.

“So while government is able to regulate stakes on machines like FOBTs, there are no such provisions for online, even though the games are the same. Our laws need updating in response to how people gamble today.”

The report’s authors said smartphone gambling is more dangerous than FOBTs because it is “so ubiquitous”, adding that there are almost no legal restrictions on smartphone gambling because the companies themselves are often based in other jurisdictions. “The job of regulating them is extremely challenging.

“Policymakers have clamped down hard on fixed-odds terminals because they’ve become associated in the public imagination with problem gamblers. But actually, we’ve been overtaken by technology, because it’s now possible for people to gamble pretty much anywhere, any time on their smartphone.”

Source: Guardian

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