Results of UK Investigation into Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals Delayed to October
Fixed-odds betting terminals have been a source of controversy in the United Kingdom, and now we’ll have to wait a while before we hear about what the future holds. The results from the government-instigated review of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) will not be released for public consumption until October as a result of the recent UK general election.
Last October, the government announced its decision to investigate the betting terminals and how they may negatively affect gamblers. The review is a part of the country’s triennial review into the UK betting industry as a whole.
FOBTs became commonplace all over the UK in the early 2000s. It didn’t take long for them to see a meteoric rise in popularity among bettors. Betting shop regulars are afforded the chance to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on the outcome of popular casino games. The quickness and rapidity with which bettors may place wagers has been some cause for concern.
FOBTs have been heavily-criticized over the years due to their addictive nature. Because bettors are allowed to wager so much over such a short period of time, some believe that FOBTs have a way of worsening a potential gambling addiction.
Change Could Be Coming
Results of the view were initially going to be released this past spring. The snap election caused the massive delay, however, as did the period of purdah, which is a period during which the government departments typically refrain from making any important announcements.
Many believe the probe’s results will cause a massive change in the way the FOBTs are operated. The £100 limit could be in particular peril. FOBT opponents have long been calling for the limit to be lowered drastically from £100 to just £2.
Implementation of the drastic measures seemed unlikely initially, but the results of the snap election may have improved the prospects that the FOBT limits could be changed. The Labour Party has been among those leading the charge against FOBTs, including the proposed change in maximum stakes. The measure was a part of the party’s election manifesto.
The conservative party has historically remained rather mum on the matter. The conservatives lost their majority in Parliament during the election, and as a result partnered with the Democratic Unionist Party in an attempt to stabilize things. The DUP has also been a staunch oppositionist of the FOBTs.
Blow to Shop Operators
Minister Tracey Crouch, who is the Parliamentary Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, said Thursday that she was frustrated personally with the turn of events regarding the delay in announcing the probe’s results.
A reduction in maximum risk would be a serious blow to many British bookmakers. Their retail businesses lean heavily on FOBTs, and lower stakes obviously mean less potential money coming in.
The UK Gambling Commission said that there was an average of more than 34,000 FOBTs located in betting shops across the United Kingdom between October of 2015 and September of last year. The FOBTs generated nearly £2 billion in gross gambling yield, which ranks first among all types of betting machines available in the UK.
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