The confectionery and chocolate giant, Mars has given in to the pressure that it has been receiving to remove the product that dispenses M&M chocolates in a style of slot machines, the M&Ms Slot Machine. The Pressure came from MPs as well as academics who stated that such a slot machine is a risk, as it can normalize gambling for children and young people.
The M&Ms Slot Machine Description
The product was on display in the World Store of M&Ms in Leicester Square in London. It worked like one-armed bandits, the classic slot machines that we all used to enjoy and play at pubs and casinos. The users would pull the lever to spin the three reels. If the users manage to land three matching symbols on the game’s Reel, which is on sale for 33 British pounds, it will then spit out a massive number of M&Ms.
Members of Parliament Send a Letter to Mars Regarding the Product
The members of the parliament, from the cross-party parliamentary group on gambling harm, sent a letter to Mars. The letter stated that they had heard many stories that are harrowing regarding gambling addicts and their addiction that ruined their lives and brought nothing but misery to the families. The letter also added the harm of gambling addiction on communities.
Therefore, the members of parliament stated that they were shocked when they found out that M&M is selling these slot-machine-style games, which targets children, in the M&Ms store in Leicester Square. They added that the normalization of gambling is a dangerous thing that has a Dangerous effect on children, later in life, and that they would like Mars to consider removing that item in the store.
At first, Mars shrugged off the concerns of the members of parliament, but it reversed that position afterward. A spokesperson representing Mars stated that the product was not designed to normalize gambling, and it wasn’t designed to appeal to children. The spokesperson added that they have decided to listen to the concerns that the MPs raised, and they decided on the removal of the item from the store.
A youth gambling expert, Dr. Samantha Thomas is the one that spotted the new product, who is also an associate professor at Deakin University in Australia. She stated that these products might look like innocent toys, but they certainly have a potential of normalizing gambling by making it look like a fun activity for the children who use it. The researchers showed that the children would not able to associate and understand the risks of gambling and slot machines. It is because they remember the colorful bright lights of these machines, and the positive sounds and they think that it is a fun and an easy way of making money. The researchers also stated that it is wrong to combine the attractive features of the slot machine with such a well-known candy brand and its cartoon character. It also might give the children the perception that the slot machines are only about wins, rather than wins and losses.