Bishop says 20 second ‘cooling off’ time on gambling machines isn’t enough


The machines use Artificial Intelligence to spot whether the user is exhibiting addictive behaviour and will be introduced in betting shops such as William Hill, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes.

The Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS) looks out for whether a player is betting erratically in order to keep playing and monitors how long they’ve been gambling for.

If the gamer is playing in a way that could danger them, they are locked out of it for at least 30 seconds and a manager is alerted.



Warnings are then displayed on the screen about safe gambling.

A “cooling off” period of 20 seconds will also stop a player gambling if they have been on the machine for 20 minutes.

Rt Rev Dr Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, who has campaigned about gambling in the House of Lords, said: “I am glad that the industry has acknowledged the problems its products are still creating on our high streets.

He said the idea was good and a step forward but: “As anyone who has ever watched people use these types of machines know, 20 seconds appears to be too small a time-limit. Could 20 seconds be so short that it is effectively meaningless?

“If this initiative is really going to help those experiencing gambling-related harm, it will need to have robust, transparent and independent academic review using anonymised data to test its effectiveness.”

Bishop Alan added: “As the world and the…

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