Interel sought to reduce the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2 for its client, Bacta – the trade association for the amusement and gaming machine industry in the UK.
It worked with Bacta and the Centre for Economics to produce a study showing the government and bookmakers had overstated the negative impact of cutting the stake. Separate research found the public and MPs favoured the reduction.
Interel helped set up the FOBTs All Party Parliamentary Group. More than 100 Parliamentary Questions were drafted. Evidence was taken from two inquiries, with reports given to the government. Letters written to the Treasury and Prime Minister were the focus of exclusives given to broadsheet newspapers.
A coalition of supporters included 93 councils, academics, the Royal Society for Public Health, businesses and high-profile faith leaders – The Archbishop of Canterbury tweeted in support. Even Paddy Power Betfair came out in favour of reducing the maximum stake.
Media partnerships helped build momentum. There was a rally at Parliament, the creation of an FOBT ‘loss tracker’ to show how much is lost on the systems, ‘political pledge days’ for politicians, and films on the impact of FOBTs. The social-media strategy focused on winning over the Treasury, with promoted tweets (Larry the Treasury Cat being one target).
The Government announced a change to the law in May 2018, with Sunday Times journalist Tim Shipman calling it "one of the most effective campaigns against a powerful lobbying interest I’ve ever seen".
"Really loved the approach and tactics to generate awareness, leading to a desired result"
Interel successfully campaigned to see the stake (or the amount you
can bet) reduced on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) from £100 to
There are over 33,000 FOBTs in betting shops. They drive problem gambling and cause widespread social harm. Our objective was simple: Cut the Stake. With formidable opponents, our challenge was far from it.
This lobbying win will end £1,800,000,000 of gambling losses, often from vulnerable people, every year.
Tim Shipman from the Sunday Times tweeted "this is one of the most effective campaigns against a powerful lobbying interest I've ever seen in this country."