Fixed odds betting terminals

Red

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The government is currently reviewing the laws surrounding fixed odds betting terminals and planning to impose a limit on stakes when people use these machines. It seems that a change will happen but what is less clear is what the maximum stakes will be. It's being reported that it might be as low as £2 per stake.

I was listening to Stephen Nolan on 5 live last night and he was interviewing some communications director from William Hill. The bloke's whole attitude to was this issue was that it's all about personal responsibility and that they have safeguards on their FOBTs. These supposed safeguards are that when using the machines the player is given an option to self impose a stake limit (which problem gamblers will not do). Nolan also asked him how much a player would be allowed to spend before staff are trained to intervene and the bloke would not answer him.

The bloke said that if the stake limit is reduced to £2 it will mean that they will have to close branches and withdraw sponsorship at major sporting events. So what?

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markwwfc1992

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#2
They call FOBT's the cocaine of the gambling world, which sums it up perfectly to be honest. You can currently spend up to £100 every 20 seconds (on roulette), as you could imagine the end game for the customer isn't pretty. Personally I would be more than happy to see everyone of these FOBT's scrapped, and leave them in casinos where such high stake gambling belongs. Bare in mind bookies are everywhere nowadays, especially in deprived areas, so it's easy to suck in vunerable people who see it as a quick way to get rich. The responsible gambling interactions bookies do are a load of crap too, they are in place to cover their own arse incase something goes wrong.

If they did limit the machines to £2 it would as you say lead to mass shop closures though, as FOBT's result to around 50% of the profit margins of most high street bookies nowadays. Lots of people would lose their jobs.
 

Laker

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#3
I worked in one of the major bookie chains for a summer job over 10 years ago when i was home from uni. It was staggering to me how much people bet on the virtual roulette machines, they were rarely “free” all day. Further to that, virtual horse racing blew my mind - can’t believe people bet on that.

The amount that some people were hooked on gambling when I worked there was a massive eye opener to me and I would be heavily in favour of them reducing the stake on these terminals down to £2. These people get into such a world of their own they don’t see what they are betting/losing.

Edit: as someone else has said, so what if they lose profit and have to lose stores/make people redundant? I’m uncomfortable with the quantity of betting advertisements linked to sports as it is - that would be a good thing too in my opinion.
 

Craig

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#4
Sincerely hope the maximum stake is cut to £2. The gambling commission has failed to recommend a cut to £2 maximum though which could be a blow. They're quite obviously in the pockets of the industry they're supposed to regulate.

If the £2 maximum is introduced then I don't see why shops will have to close (certainly not on the scale the bookies are suggesting anyway). Revenue from sports betting plus £2 spins (that's like £2 every 10 seconds or something similar) should be enough to cover shop expenses and the staff's meagre wages and still make enough to operate when you consider betting shops have very little stock replenishment to cover compared to other high street businesses. The whole huge job losses argument is nothing more than scaremongering from the big companies.

I don't see how any right minded person could be in favour of the maximum stake remaining so high. The only people happy for it to stay as it is are those set to profit from other peoples addictions. The industry really is a stain on society.
 

Renegade

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#5
The industry really is a stain on society.
Fucking preach, it really is one of the most disgusting industries we have. I was reading a neurology book recently and learned that gambling addiction is genuinely a physiological condition and those that are susceptible to the industry's tricks are pretty much powerless to help themselves. For a regular brain, when a participant experiences a near-miss (such as getting two matching fruits on a slot machine) whilst gambling, we don't have a reward response in the brain. For the pathological gamber, a near-miss will activate the regions in the brain associated with sex and food (reward/pleasure centre). So they have a physiological incentive to continue gambling despite losing, the machines (and sport's betting websites) are designed specifically to exploit this.

This will apply to any casino games and sports betting, though it has become normalised in the public's collective consciousness thanks to advertising and a pitiful "gamble aware" campaign that is usually a footnote in adverts that glamourise betting. That's not even to mention how gambling companies mine personal data to target the poorest, most vulnerable and most desperate people in society, because they are the ones most likely to hand their cash over. It should have "gamble aware" campaigns that warn people more appropriately like alcohol and especially smoking campaigns do.
 
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markwwfc1992

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#6
Sincerely hope the maximum stake is cut to £2. The gambling commission has failed to recommend a cut to £2 maximum though which could be a blow. They're quite obviously in the pockets of the industry they're supposed to regulate.

If the £2 maximum is introduced then I don't see why shops will have to close (certainly not on the scale the bookies are suggesting anyway). Revenue from sports betting plus £2 spins (that's like £2 every 10 seconds or something similar) should be enough to cover shop expenses and the staff's meagre wages and still make enough to operate when you consider betting shops have very little stock replenishment to cover compared to other high street businesses. The whole huge job losses argument is nothing more than scaremongering from the big companies.

I don't see how any right minded person could be in favour of the maximum stake remaining so high. The only people happy for it to stay as it is are those set to profit from other peoples addictions. The industry really is a stain on society.
The shops wouldn't make much off £2 spins, just the slots games really (which don't create that much revenue anyway). Roulette is the main money maker for the bookies in regards of FOBT's. Nowadays FOBT's cater for roughly 50% of shop level business, so taking away £50 spins would have big repercussions to shop closures. Realistically I think it's just passing on the problem though. If you tell someone they can't spin £50 anymore then they'll likely just go and do it in a casino instead. I suppose at least casinos aren't on every street corner like bookies are.

From a moral standpoint the sooner they cut back to £2 spins the better (ideally get rid of them all together). There would be many job losses though, which would be the main casualty of it all.
 

Laker

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#7
The shops wouldn't make much off £2 spins, just the slots games really (which don't create that much revenue anyway). Roulette is the main money maker for the bookies in regards of FOBT's. Nowadays FOBT's cater for roughly 50% of shop level business, so taking away £50 spins would have big repercussions to shop closures. Realistically I think it's just passing on the problem though. If you tell someone they can't spin £50 anymore then they'll likely just go and do it in a casino instead. I suppose at least casinos aren't on every street corner like bookies are.

From a moral standpoint the sooner they cut back to £2 spins the better (ideally get rid of them all together). There would be many job losses though, which would be the main casualty of it all.
I think you’re right that people will bet if they want to. Reducing the maxmimum stake on these betting terminals is fine but I can see people just wandering up to the counter and lumping £100 on the next horse race - in fact that exact thing happened when I worked at the bookies and all terminals there were taken. Some people would bet on anything without any consideration for what chance it had of winning.

That said, I am in favour of these stakes being dropped because I guess there is some logic behind betting on horse racing whereas FOBT’s are just a glorified lottery.

Gambling is a difficult one. Personally I don’t gamble regularly (well I do one line on the lottery each draw and I go horse racing once or twice a year - Newmarket is just down the road from here). As a casual participator I really enjoy it and there is a certain “buzz” when your horse comes in and you have a decent price win that is indescribable until you experience it. But I’m not well versed on the psychological effects and Renegade’s post is a big learn for me. I’m not ignorant (I’m broadly aware of the issues), I just don’t fully understand the extent of gambling problems. It clearly needs control of some sort but obviously an outright ban would be crazy.
 

Craig

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#8
Decision expected on this soon. The betting industry has been dealt a blow by the fact Philip Hammond has now dropped his opposition to the £2 maximum stake and May faces a backlash from 20+ Tory MP's if the maximum isn't cut, though I suspect that is more down to them wanting rid of her than their concerns for people affected.
 

markwwfc1992

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Glad the right decision was made. I feel for the people who will lose their jobs but overall it was definitely the correct call to make.
 

Red

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Glad the right decision was made. I feel for the people who will lose their jobs but overall it was definitely the correct call to make.
I agree, it is unfortunate, but I think arresting the increase of problem gamblers and the effects it has on them and their families etc outweighs the costs of job losses.
 

Fompous Part

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#14
May faces a backlash from 20+ Tory MP's if the maximum isn't cut, though I suspect that is more down to them wanting rid of her than their concerns for people affected.
This is rather ungenerous, isn't it? Even Red (!) managed to give props without tacking a "Tories = heartless c***s" caveat on the end.
 

Ernesto

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I agree, it is unfortunate, but I think arresting the increase of problem gamblers and the effects it has on them and their families etc outweighs the costs of job losses.
You can only understand it as a father.
 

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