You are unlikely to know what a FOBT is if you do not live in the UK, they are a type of gaming machine that are found in betting shops in every town and city in England, Scotland and Wales (not Northern Ireland) that offer players the option of playing on them slot machines and other casino games.
Those multi-game machines are officially known as Fixed Odds Betting Terminals and when playing them, depending on the games chosen, players can gamble up to £100 per game played. Some games such as Roulette allow players to gamble £100 every 20 minutes, so the wins and losses can be huge.
One aspect of the design and legal requirements of these gaming machines however is that no one player can win on any of the games available on them more than £500 per single game played off.
Since these machines started to appear in betting shops in 2006 they have attracted the attention of not only players but also gambling addiction charities who are outraged at not only the fairly high stakes players can play them for, but also the number of people who have become addicted to playing them.
A simple Google search will list tales of woe from players who have gambled away huge fortunes on those machines due to their inability to limit how much they gamble, and while many MP’s and gambling related charities have at one time or another since the launch of FOBT’s tried to get the machines either banned completely or have a reduced maximum stake in place, no one has yet managed to succeed in doing so.
However, a General Election has just been called in the UK, and the Labour Party have decided that if they do get into power, which to be perfectly honest in highly unlikely, they are going to limit players of FOBT’s to a stake of just £2 per game played and not £100!
Whilst it is always advisable for anyone with a gambling problem to seek help with that problem, you cannot and should not bring out laws dictating how gamblers can gamble and how much they can gamble, for that is not the job of a government.
Much more so when it is relatively simple for anyone over the age of 18 to either walk into a land based casino in the UK or for that matter sign up to an online or mobile casino site and play slot machines and other casino games for much higher stake amounts.
It is no secret that FOBT’s do earn huge profits for betting shops,, and many of the new betting shops that have opened in the last few years have only done so to allow the companies running those betting shops to increase the number of FOBT machines they have in their estates, as most of those betting companies now make more in profits from those machines than they do taking bets over the counter!
If by some amazing fluke of luck Labour do get into power then one has to wonder what other Nanny State type laws they will bring in, and from a gamblers point of view let’s hope they don’t get voted in!