This campaign stood out from the pack due to the engaging and detailed way it was presented. Interel Consulting UK understood the strength of the argument that needed to be overcome. They set out a clear, well defined objective and strategy, and displayed smart engagement skills to create a groundswell of support from disparate stakeholders and influencers. Ultimately, the campaign achieved an impressive outcome, married to a simple yet challenging objective.

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Winner entry:

Brief and objectives:

Interel’s objective was to see the stake (or amount you can bet) cut on a Fixed Odds Betting Terminals from £100 to £2.

There are over 33,000 FOBTs in betting shops providing hard, high stakes gambling on Britain’s high streets. They have had a devastating impact driving money laundering and problem gambling to the extent that some have even taken their own lives as a result of FOBT addiction. While this suggests a clear cut case for reducing the £100 stake, FOBTs are highly lucrative for bookmakers who generate £1.8bn a year in profit from them and for the Government who make c. £600m in tax revenues. So we had some formidable opponents to take on.

Our objective was simple: to get the Government to Cut the Stake Now. Our challenge was far from it.

The idea, research and planning:

We needed to ensure our arguments had the strongest economic and social case. We worked with our client, Bacta on a new and ground breaking piece of research with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). This showed that the Government and the bookmakers had hugely overstated the impact on the economy and bookmaker businesses from reducing the stake. We undertook polls of the general public and MPs to demonstrate the strength of support particularly within the Conservative party. This proved invaluable in getting the campaign over the line.

Strategy, tactics, creativity and innovation:

Our strategy was threefold:

  1. Ensuring a watertight economic and social case
  2. Building the largest coalition possible
  3. Working with politicians

With Carolyn Harris MP, Interel worked to set up the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals All Party Parliamentary Group. This was a critical political group driving the case forward in parliament. We drafted over 100 Parliamentary Questions in the Commons and the Lords including questions for the Prime Minister and other Cabinet Ministers. We undertook two inquiries taking evidence -from all the stakeholders in the debate, including the Minister responsible and the head of the Gambling Commission and wrote a report on its outcomes for the Government. We built cross-party and cross parliamentary support for this change. We also worked with the Group to write a number of letters to the Treasury and the Prime Minister and we gave exclusives to the media broad sheets to cover these.

Building the widest coalition: We built a wide coalition and worked closely with 93 local authorities, esteemed academics, community groups, the Royal Society for Public Health, businesses and high profile faith leaders. The Archbishop of Canterbury tweeted to call for the stake to fall to £2. We worked with 30,000 mosques and Sikh Gurdwaras. We even managed to secure support from the bookmaker Paddy Power who agreed on the need for dramatic stake reduction. Closely working with the media, notably the Times, Guardian and the Mirror, was central in building political momentum and public support. We placed stories and provided collateral for them. This led to numerous news articles including public letters from Parliamentarians, leading articles and ‘Thunderer’ comment articles drafted by us in the Times.

Delivery:

Interel fought this campaign with creativity and originality.

A Rally in Parliament: was attended by the Rt.Hon Iain Duncan Smith, the Bishop of St. Albans, the Royal Society for Public Health, the Mayor of Newham and gamblers themselves who had been harmed by FOBTs. A FOBT loss tracker: on the APPG website showed that £57 is lost every second on FOBTs. Since the Government began its long consultation on this issue over £2.8bn has been lost on FOBTs. Take a look it’s still ticking now.

Political pledge days: were held in Parliament and we travelled round the country to build support. In the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and London Assembly politicians from all sides pledged support for £2.

Films: We made hard-hitting films on the impact of FOBTs , these had over 1,000,000 impressions on twitter, tweet and retweets.

Social media: became increasingly important in building momentum. From the FOBT APPG we tweeted every day about mounting losses. Our main challenge in the latter stages was to win over a reluctant Treasury. The Prime Minister and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport supported us. Using promoted tweets, we were able target our key stakeholders, including Larry the Treasury cat. We also worked with the Times on a sequence of stories using social media to build support. It was through this interplay of traditional news media and using social media that we saw the Treasury concede. This was the trigger point for success in our campaign.

Measurement and evaluation:

We fought this campaign with creativity, innovation and passion. On 17th May 2018, we won.

The Government announced that it would cut the stakes from £100 to £2 on FOBT machines.

The announcement was the number one item of discussion on social media on the day of the announcement. 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.”

Budget and campaign impact:

When we began this campaign, a £2 stake seemed unachievable.

What made this campaign special was the true passion and belief in what we were trying to achieve, not just to see the stake reduced but to stop the harm caused to vulnerable people. It was a campaign as fought round the clock.

Staff costs: £75K-100k which helped to end £1,800,000,000 of gambling losses every year. We feel this was a cost effective campaign.