Image source: NOVOMATIC AG / CC BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons
At the time, the gambling industry went into meltdown at the very idea. Reducing the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in the UK would be, they claimed, the end of them. This has very much proven not to be the case. Government-regulators are now assessing the impact of the change on FOBT gambling in the UK. So, we take a look at what that will do for the industry’s credibility. Are online sportsbook sites in the UK like Bet365 now at an advantage? Has venue-based gambling in the UK cried wolf once too often?
The warnings at the time were dire indeed. It would be nothing less than apocalyptic for the industry. Businesses would fail, operations would be scaled back, sponsorship deals would be dropped. The gaming industry insisted reducing the maximum stake for FOBT gambling in the UK would be Armageddon. What actually transpired was less dramatic. This leaves many wondering what all the fuss was about. To what degree did the industry seek to mislead regulators?
With further adjustments to UK gambling laws on the cards, now is not the time to appear untrustworthy. Having weathered so few of the ill effects touted by the bookies what credibility will the sector have now? Consultation with them would appear wasteful if the only upshot is a deeply flawed and bias KPMG report. The last one predicted the change to FOBT gambling in the UK would cause crisis. However, it appears to mostly have achieved what it set out to do.
Bet365 Offers Better Chances Than Any FOBT
“This data,” Clean Up Gambling insisted, “shows FOBT stake reduction has reduced the volume of losses and resulting harm on the most addictive content on bookies’ machines.” Which appears to be true. This is the sort of thing regulators like. With many legal adjustments taking years to have an effect, this one has been almost immediate. Unfortunately for the sector the immediate doom they predicted simply hasn’t materialized. They now appear to have been lying about FOBT gambling in the UK.
“Despite warnings from the sector,” Clean Up Gambling continues, “there’s been minimal impact on the number of shops and jobs. There is no economic justification to resist stake limits.” Which could perhaps be a warning shot over the bows of the internet. Online betting sites in the UK like Bet365 are probably gaining at the venue’s expense, but for how long? Eventually, regulators will want to tighten their grip on that facet of the industry too. Trouble is after lying about FOBT gambling in the UK who will they listen to?
FOBT Gambling In The UK Still An Issue
It is unlikely to be the industry itself. FOBT gambling in the UK was a manifest and obvious problem. It was indefensibly preying on the weakest of society. That the industry even attempted to defend it was a disgusting display of craven mercenary usury. This means, in the future, the public will dismiss their concerns. Regulators will have a completely free hand to deal with an industry perceived as willing to lie through its teeth simply to line its pockets. Tactically they were inept.
For the moment those who like to bet on sports in the UK can do so at Bet365 with the bare minimum of oversight. In the future that could become far more problematic. Regulators slighted by one part of the industry could feel inclined to take out their displeasure on another. This is not unheard of. Indeed the scandal over FOBT gambling in the UK could have knock-on effects which will last long after we’ve consigned the last of these horrid machines to the garbage.
We take a look at what the assessment of FOBT gambling in the UK a year on from the maximum stake limit imposition will have on the gaming industry’s reputation.