Fixed Odds Betting Machines Are A Social Pariah

A recent report into fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) blamed increased addiction and suicides on the gambling machines and accused the betting shops that allow them of contributing to anti-social behaviour on Britain’s Streets.

The main thrust of the report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is that the FOBT’s should have their stakes slashed from a high of £100 per spin to just £2 and also calls for reduced spin speed on machines that can see punters lose £300 every minute. That’s a lot of cash to lose in even the largest of gambler’s bankrolls.

The major bookmakers have not done themselves any favours at all by boycotting the inquiry and showing their total lack of empathy for what is a very real social problem. I believe people should be allowed to make their own decisions but when you have a situation where greed on both sides of the fence is clearly the prime motivation for gameplay, then something needs to be done about it.

Playing casino table games is, or should be a fun and pleasurable experience. Not a rush to win or lose the most money in a few minutes of mad button pressing. Taking £100 to a real brick and mortar casino would give you a great night out and make an opportunity to get out of the house for a bit. I really don’t see the point in FOBT’s.

Long term the house wins

Long term the house wins. That’s the stark truth for any casino gambler. Getting good at Blackjack is the only way to make your money last longer but at the end of the day, casinos exist to take your cash plain and simple. Doing all your rent money in a few seconds of roulette gameplay is not what casino gaming is all about.

People who do football accumulators for just a few quid can spend hours wading through statistics to find the perfect combination of stake vs return. It’s not the money that’s important, it’s the anticipation, the rush and of course the endless disappointment peppered with the odd success. This is what makes betting enjoyable.

FOBT’s strip away any player enjoyment and ignore emotion. You are simply playing the odds in the hope that you’ll get lucky and walk away with a big stash with a few minutes time investment. The odds say you’ll lose in the long run, you know that. What’s the point?

It’s hard to put your finger on addiction

It’s hard to put your finger on addiction. Is someone who is addicted to FOBT’s just a totally irresponsible lout who should know better or are they being exploited by unscrupulous bookmakers with no ethics or morals?

If you want to eradicate smoking amongst the population, you wrap the packets in plain covers and put them away out of sight. It’s been a proven strategy to reduce the number of people giving up or starting the habit. Once you’re addicted it’s too late.

Removing FOBT’s from the high street is the only way to begin to eradicate a terrible social problem. The trouble is they make the owners on average £1,000 each per week. You’ll need some superpowers to fight against the amount of greed and avarice that the Pro lobby will defend this with.

Adrian Parkinson, of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: “This is the first time a cross-party group of MPs has looked independently at the issue of FOBT’s and their conclusions could ring in the final days of high streets and town centres dominated by these addictive machines.

“This is the first time a cross-party group of MPs has looked independently at the issue of FOBT’s and their conclusions could ring in the final days of high streets and town centres dominated by these addictive machines.”

“The spotlight is now on the Government and what decision they come to following their review.”

The APPG said there is a “prima facie case for significant stake reduction”, adding: “The group sees a strong case for the stake being set at £2.”

It said: “At the very least the stake should be reduced on a precautionary basis, in line with the principles which govern the work of the Gambling Commission, until sufficient evidence is presented to the Government that the high stakes on these machines do not cause harm.”

Chair Carolyn Harris said: “There is now a clear case for the Government to substantially reduce the maximum stake which can be played on FOBTs.

“There is now a clear case for the Government to substantially reduce the maximum stake which can be played on FOBTs. The time for prevaricating is over. These machines are easily accessed in the most deprived areas, sucking money out of the pockets of families. I support a responsible gambling industry, but there is nothing responsible about how FOBTs are currently being operated. I urge the Government to take action now.”

In my opinion, FOBT’s are a blight on the gambling industry and should be removed from all bookmakers with immediate effect.

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