Examination of Witnesses (Questions 60-71)
MR KEITH SMITH AND MR TIM BATSTONE
TUESDAY 11 JUNE 2002
60. How many members do you have?
(Mr Smith) 690, roughly.
61. How many have contributed to the industry trust?
(Mr Smith) BACTA has contributed itself.
62. No; how many of the members have contributed?
(Mr Smith) I cannot quote you accurately. I think it is only about 25 of the bigger companies at the moment.
63. 25 per cent or 25?
(Mr Smith) No, numbers.
64. A pitifully tiny amount of the industry is actively helping. That is really revealing, is it not? It is a really strong reason why it has to be rather more. 25 is pitiful. The amount of research that needs to be done is something that everybody is agreed on, is it not?
(Mr Smith) Yes.
65. It is expensive. Who pays?
(Mr Smith) So far, the prevalence study was paid for by the industry. It was mainly the industry. We paid towards it. The majority of the research will end up being paid for by the industry.
66. At the moment, 25 companies out of all the hundreds of companies are paying for this incredibly important research?
(Mr Smith) No. I am only quoting BACTA. I believe quite a few casino companies and quite a few bingo companies also put some money in. We have a meeting tonight, for example, amongst our members to try and decide the best way of raising the funding.
(Mr Batstone) Most of the members are relying on BACTA to make a contribution on their behalf. They are all supporting it.
67. How do they put their money into this?
(Mr Smith) That is what we have to decide.
68. They do not at the moment.
(Mr Smith) We have only just started the fund, about six months ago.
69. So they do not at the moment put any money into it?
(Mr Smith) They do.
70. You may have heard in the earlier session that it was felt that part of the problem is people not understanding the odds. How would you feel if every gaming machine in the United Kingdom had displayed on the front of the machine the odds on winning?
(Mr Smith) They do.
71. It was also mentioned that some gaming machines are made so that you almost win. I do understand independent variables but most do not. Therefore they think they have almost won and therefore they will keep on gaming. Is that true? Do you really make machines that do that?
(Mr Smith) I am not a games designer. People will try and make games that are successful. There is no doubt about that. I believe there are very clear rules on what features machines are able to have. It is best to ask the Gaming Board to explain those to you rather than me.
Chairman: Thank you very much.