Gambling addiction can be highly problematic. In fact, despite the reality that gambling is legalized, it has to be regulated in order to protect those who are prone to becoming addicted to the activity. When it comes to fixed-odds betting terminals, these can cause a lot of problems considering how it can be available in multiple outlets even on one street.
The Crack Cocaine of Gambling
There is a reason why FOBTs are considered the crack cocaine of gambling. If you will take a closer look at the stake, the speed of play, as well as the game content of FOBT’s, it can be quite alarming. In fact, FOBTs permit stakes of up to £100, every 20 seconds can be highly addictive. It can be considered just the same as casino roulette that you can spin for every two minutes.
Should There Be Changes?
In order to protect gamblers especially those who can easily get addicted to fixed-odds betting terminals, The Gambling Commission has recommended that there should be a ceiling for the maximum stake at £30 or less.
The shares in both William Hill and Ladbrokes Coral each rose by 4% and 3% respectively as the proposals stopped. That is after speculations that the commission would go further than their usual plans. The anti-FOBT advocates have already criticized the regulator for not being able to adopt the maximum stake of £2.
Theoretically, given the £100 stake every 20 seconds on FOBT, this means that someone could actually lose £18,000 in just a matter of an hour. The £30 limit is going to be applied to non-slot games such as roulette which is the most popular FOBT game today.
The Commission’s investigation was initiated in an effort to reduce the risk on the consumers of FOBT’s. And what they have discovered is that there should be a stake limit of £30 or less. According to the commission, there should be a lower ceiling “if it is to have a significant effect on the potential for players to lose large amounts of money in a short space of time”.
The review was published in October which recommended that there should be cut in the maximum stake to £2, £20, £30, or £50. Currently, there are 30,000 fixed-odds betting terminals around the UK. However, by bringing the maximum stake down to £2, this would create a number of problems with the bookmakers.
If you will ask Labour MP Jim McMahon, he mentioned that he is disappointed by latest regulatory changes applied by the commission. He said that “I hope Gov go further” in his tweet. Carolyn Harris, who is another Labour politician said that the change was “outrageous” saying that the regulatory commission isn’t “brave enough” to adopt the £2 limit.
The ministers are now going to decide whether or not to implement the recommendations. This includes the game limits per session as well as tracked play and player limits. Commission chief executive Neil McArthur mentioned that “We’ve put consumers at the heart of our advice—advice which is based on the best available evidence and is focused on reducing the risk of gambling-related harm”