For the gambling industry it was never going to be good news, the rabid tabloid headlines on the subject alone enough to make any government run for cover or at the very least kick it into the long grass for the next government to trip over much later on, but as the gambling commission in the UK suggests FOBT stakes are slashed will this really trigger a chance in UK gambling laws or will the industry be able to turn the tide on these horrid machines once again?
- Are Fixed Odds Betting Terminals “the crack cocaine of gambling”?
- Is a £2 limit a sensible way to combat problem gambling?
- Will the government adopt the Gambling Commission’s recommendations?
- Should there be a global ban on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals?
That FOBT stakes were too high was obvious to anyone who wasn’t either a) spending all their money on them, or b) making all their money from those spending all their money on them. As high street bookies lost out to online giants and their shops began to empty they shifted focus from the traditional wagers on sports and instead began to hang their hat on Fixed Odds Betting Terminal machines that allowed the poor (the rich don’t use high st bookie shops) to throw away 100 quid every 20 seconds.
Naturally the tales of woe that this caused among the undisciplined were horrific and hit the headlines frequently as poverty and penury beckoned them. In essence the machines facilitated a fleecing of gambling addicts on an industrial scale with the sort of profit margin most businesses can only dream of, and worse it was just so blatant. When the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport asked the UK gambling commission to look at FOBT stakes everyone knew they would suggest some limits.
People Bet On Sports In The UK Online Not On The High Street
Indeed so obvious was it that the UK gambling commission would suggest sweeping cuts to FOBT stakes that big UK gambling industry names like William Hill and Ladbrokes began issuing retaliatory threats about sports sponsorship before it had even reported, and the government ensured its accountants estimated there would be astronomical revenue losses of over five billion if the stakes were cut by too much so it had an excuse to side with big business rather than the people they represent.
The Association Of British Bookmakers
The questionable ethics of the industry coupled with the dodgy mathematics of the government based on data from the Association of British Bookmakers (tax revenues of 5 billion? Online gambling in the UK as a whole only made 4.7 last year, you Muppets) mean that they can, if necessary, wholly ignore the sensible suggestion that FOBT stakes are cut to a maximum of 2 pounds, if the unit in question is a fruit machine style affair, and 30 quid if the game is a more complex card or casino type of machine.
Dying High Street Fleecing Industry Fights FOBT Stakes Cut
“Money is often lost by those at the lower end of the income distribution and it is highly questionable that the government derives significant machine gaming duty revenue from those that can least afford it.” Reported Carolyn Harris, Ronnie Cowan and Iain Duncan Smith to the Chancellor Philip Hammond, with the case for reform “overwhelming”, however anyone in the UK gambling news headlines and common sense is enough to convince Tories to do the right thing with FOBT stakes has forgotten Thatcher.
Tom Watson – Shadow Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Secretary
When the decision is finally made (and announced on a day Theresa May has attempted to start a nuclear war with Vladimir Putin no doubt) do not expect the commission recommendations to be implemented in that form or indeed any new legal requirement to go into effect any time soon. Conservative governments have never minded fleecing the poor, nor stopped anyone else doing so, and they’re unlikely to start now, so you can expect lower FOBT stakes but not as low as this suggestion.