Bookies Defend High Stakes FOBT In UK By Taking Hostages


FOBT are the bane of the gaming industry in the UK and however they’re dressed up where you’re from they’re just as much of a problem there as anywhere else. Placed in betting shops in typically poor areas these sleek traps for the unwary are cynical profiteering by a business that already knows it’s future is online and as the British government moves to curb the excesses with stake limits, the bookies are biting back to wring every penny out of the vulnerable they possibly can before the inevitable.

  • Will the UK gambling industry taking sports hostage backfire?
  • Should FOBT stakes have a maximum of two or one hundred pounds?
  • Are the British Government too busy with Brexit to get this right?
  • Could the gaming companies clean up their act or are they too far gone?

The Fixed Odds Betting Terminal row (or FOBT) has once again surfaced in the UK where the tabloid press have dubbed them the “crack cocaine of gambling” and lurid stories about those who have fallen foul of these ghastly machines are splattered across their pages daily. Naturally anyone in the UK gambling news coverage of this ilk will perhaps bring an end to this debate once and for all should think again, the gambling industry is nothing if not determined to tarnish itself with every opportunity.

Backed into a corner, the evidence these horrid machines should be limited in scope of both number and stake possibly played now unarguable (so unarguable even the British Parliament gets it), the gambling industry in the UK decided the best course of action was not to clean up their FOBT act but to take hostages and issue threats. After all, when caught making money out of the vulnerable why not threaten some of the nation’s most beloved and prized sporting occasions by pulling your sponsorship?

Bookies Pretend The Internet Isn’t Real And They Need FOBT

Ladbrokes, on hearing Parliament was contemplating lowering the maximum wager permitted on an FOBT from 100 GBP to a far more reasonable 2 GBP (a hundred notes on one spin of a glorified fruit machine?? Are they insane?), decided to threaten to pull it’s sponsorship from horse racing and rugby leaving an 8 million GBP gap in funding at a time neither sport can really afford it. Claiming near destitution levels of poverty the UK gambling industry paints this as a disaster for their business.

Ladbrokes claims half its shop revenues come from FOBT but given the universe of gambling is moving online, those shops were going to close anyway, and their excuses are just stalling tactics to wring as much out of the poor as they possibly can before UK gambling laws catch up with their mercenary manner. The cynicism and nasty calculated assault on those least able to defend against the lure of unfettered high-stakes gambling is truly staggering and their threats against sport are atrocious.

Should The FOBT Menace Just Be Banned Already?

Sports Events Under Threat

  • Winter Carnival
  • Rugby Football League Challenge Cup
  • Scottish Professional Football League
  • Scottish Grand National
  • Welsh Grand National
  • Sprint at York
  • Snooker & Darts Events

With other betting companies joining the fray, William Hill said their 1m investment in sports were “at risk”, which will probably worry someone somewhere until they realize there’s a million other sponsors out there and if your sport can only attract money from nasty wideboys trying to diddle the deprived of what little they have with FOBT perhaps it doesn’t really deserve to survive. This probably applies twice to sports involving animal cruelty – like Rugby. Worse however, is that the Tories may buckle.

Theresa May and her clown car crash Conservative government are busy faffing over Brexit, falling over themselves to be next in line to be PM and managing to make the geography supply teacher form of Jeremy Corbyn look a credible opponent, so they’re likely as not going to fob the FOBT issue again, and those that like to both have fun with a bet on sports in the UK AND throw all their money away on a microchipped monstrosity in less than an hour will be able to keep on doing so for a while yet.

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