Gambling machines in over 5,000 betting shops across the UK have received a new update adding a ‘cool off’ feature. The Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS) utilises artificial intelligence (AI) that is designed to recognise and respond to erratic, problem behaviour in gamblers.
If the APAS detects this behaviour or determines that someone is gambling excessively then it will lock them out of the machine for 30 seconds to ‘cool off’. During this cool off period, the machine will display responsible gambling messages to make the player think
The 30 second break has been criticised as ‘not long enough to have a positive effect’ by professor of behavioural addiction at Nottingham Trent University, Mark Griffiths. However, Griffiths does admit that this is a step in the right direction.
Betfred, Ladbrokes, Coral and William Hill have all confirmed that the update is rolling out to all of the gambling machines in their brick and mortar shops. Not only does the new update force excessive players to take a break from gambling, it also alerts the staff behind the counter that this has happened so they can react accordingly if they need to.
This new update is the most recent change to gambling machines and fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) designed to promote responsible gambling. In 2018, the UK government enforced a £2 bet limit on all FOBTs across the country, reducing the limit from £100.
Last month, a group of UK MPs formed The Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (GRH APPG) and released a report calling for that same £2 bet limit to apply to all online gambling too.