Controversial Gambling Machine Debate Escalates to More Troubles in UK


The future of fixed-odds betting terminals or FOBTs is a long-discussed topic in the gambling industry of UK. Recent developments confirm that the debates on it are subjected to more troubles, including conflicts of interests. It is due to a significant number of MPs of the country would have utilized the hospitality benefits and other options offered by the leading bookmakers in the UK, per a report by the Guardian.

The leading news outlet was referring to a document that leaked just before the Tuesday announcement of gaming review by the Government. The review conducted by Culture, Digital, Sport, and Media recommended reducing the maximum FOBT betting from £100 to something between £50 and £2. In addition to that, there is a twelve-week consulting period has been initiated to discuss the future of FOBTs. During the period, the MPs provide their insights and inputs, including supporting and opposing arguments on the gambling machines, to come up with a re-regulation for the particular gambling sector. The inputs of MPs are expected to help the legislation more comprehensive.

The Guardian revealed that the leaked data contained the questions asked before the representatives in regards to the FOBTs debate. A close review of the questions revealed that some of them appeared to be promoting the points frequently raised by the lobbyists for bookmakers. The documents show that those queries tried to plot FOBTs as the bread and butter for a significant workforce, and anything that affects the industry can lead to the closures of several shops and leaving thousands jobless.
The information has created quite a panic condition that the MPs who have received the hospitality and political funding from bookmakers may push the policy to make a softer approach towards the gambling machines that spotted controversial. The addictive nature of FOBTs have created big criticism in the society, and that led to the current re-regulation.

Earlier this year, BBC reported that Ladbrokes Coral, the bookmaker with the largest number of FOBTs in the country, regularly contributes to MPs. Per the declarations of donations submitted by MPs, Ladbrokes Coral have paid 15 donations totaling £7,500 to four MPs. The officials got different types of hospitality contributions such as trips to Cheltenham, Ascot, and other famous horse race centers.

What to Expect for the FOBTs of the Country?

After the triennial review published by the government and the twelve-week consultation period, it will become clear that what is the capping when it comes to betting on FOBTs, whether it will be reduced from the current ceiling or not, and more. The review suggested making the betting limits between £50 and £2. Interestingly, players can now bet a maximum of £100 in every 20 seconds.

It is estimated that there are more than 34,000 machines in the country. The controversial FOBTs are the biggest retail betting sector in the country’s industry with an annual income of £1.8 billion. While most people welcome the crackdown, the campaigners demand that MPs should also analyze other critical factors that make addictive nature of gaming, such as the speed of play.