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You’d genuinely believe that such a solid gambling culture as that of England, Great Britain and the U. K. generally – but there’s one form of wagering that has citizens worried about addiction: Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). FOBTs are small terminals on which games of chance are played. FOBTs might offer a number of games, including roulette, slots, bingo, simulated video game-style horse races – again, any game based purely on random chance. Roulette is the most common offering and choice on the FOBTs, because of the game’s appeal to the FOBT’s market; more upon this below.
FOBTs were introduced to bookmaker shops throughout the U. K. in 2001. This early restriction of the machines to betting shops only was a prescient move, intentional or not, as European Union regulations banning electronic gambling games in public places, e. g. the great old neighbourhood pub, were getting into full force by 2006.
Specific to England, meanwhile, the Gambling Act of 2005 established a limit of four FOBTs per betting shop. The result of this act was a Starbucks-like expansion, whereupon a betting shop of the same manufacturer could have four locations on four corners of a city block – and, it may be pointed out, created a boomlet of job creation I the mid- to late 2000s. By 2013, a whopping 33, 000- FOBTs were functioning in the U. K.
Because of growing pressure from some citizens’ groups and conservative MPs resulted in the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) supplying a compromise solution: Bettors are given the option to set betting limits. In addition , all FOBTs were to be programmed to warn the player if he/she spends significantly more than 30 minutes or £250 on the device.
During those times, Tory official called the self-regulation a “positive step” toward addressing citizens’ concerns, the people pressed on in hopes of further legislation regulating FOBTs. A long time before the ABB acted had a scary factoid been circulating via tabloid and TELEVISION: The punter can wager £100 every 20 second. (Technically the figure is correct, but with limited payouts possible, it would be excessively difficult to blow said £100 quite that quickly. Point taken, though. )
Because of this stat, citizens’ groups have proposed setting right back the most wager allowed on the machines form £100 to £2, a proposal that is gaining steam among the citizenry – and might have gotten a bump from history.
A substantive governmental study into FOBTs was ordered by Parliament in September 2016, nonetheless it was the events of June ’17 which have likely doomed that £100. In June 2017, a stunning near-victory by the left resulted in a parliamentary coalition between your Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party. Whilst the Tories have been notably blasé about addressing any FOBT-related issues, the DUP is one party with limiting that max bet high on its agenda. And any FOBT-regulating bill in parliament is unlikely to be blocked, with opposition parties Labour and the Liberal Democrats both pro-FOBT betting limits.
That is written from the vantage point of confused post-election 2017, and we still don’t know the medium-term ramifications of Theresa May’s cockup. It feels fairly well certain, however , that the days of the £100 FOBT wager are numbered; by 2020, a lower max bet will be required. Even though if you should be waitng for a decision come july 1st, as all things with this governemnt, it's already been delayed before autumn of 2017.
Indeed, detractors do refer to FOBT whilst the “crack cocaine of gambling” to purvey that bogeyman kind of feeling. You can see their point, but one wonders if several of those whose lives are ruined by indiscriminately throwing money at games of chance couldn’t be helped by those inside their personal lives a bit more. One also wonders about the paradoxical acceptance of the bet shops themselves, however, not this “crack cocaine. ” So … it’s okay to metaphorically deal speed although not coke…?