There is much concern over fixed odds betting in the UK. Fixed odds betting terminals are responsible for an exorbitant amount of money lost, resulting in losses by players of over 1.8 billion pounds per year. The primary concern is that these machines are highly addictive, and gamblers can lose a substantial amount of money in just a few minutes. A review has been scheduled to address the matter however it’s been delayed until October. The Department for Media, Culture, and Sport is the group that has decided to conduct the review.
The issue is a double-edged sword. The machines contribute to over 400 million revenue in taxes. The government is unable to lose this amount of revenue. The Democratic Unionist Party is against the machines and wishes to reduce the amount that can be wagered from 100 pounds down to 2 pounds. The Association of British Bookmakers warns that cuts could affect not only gamblers and government but also would cut a rather significant amount of jobs. While ABB does plan to work with parliament on the responsible gambling agenda, it also is concerned about the devastating effect for those in the industry, as it employs more people than any other gambling industry.
Responsible gaming has been an issue that the UK has been working on for quite some time. Recently, a charity organization called Gamble Aware has been responsible for attempting to help curb gambling and provide treatment. The program allows gamblers to self-identify to casinos both in person and online. In turn, the gambler is allowed to select the amount they can wager, or, completely ban themselves from the establishment. The organization also aims to raise awareness of the problem and get more people in treatment for their addiction. Although still in the early stages, the results have been promising.
Another major concern is that while help is available, the UK is notoriously loose on gambling regulation. While the government can attempt to reduce the odds, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the addiction goes away. Parliament may be better off by attempting to increase the outreach programs to identify and assist problemed gamblers. The casinos could also introduce new games and earn revenue in that fashion. While the industry is certainly profitable, it has admitted that attracting a younger crowd has been an issue for quite some time. In the meantime, the review has been delayed until October, and the industry may have more time to present its argument, and the FOBT’s will remain active.