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Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

  • FOBT’s are Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, found in betting shops in the UK
  • There are 34,000 FOBT’s across the whole of the UK
  • Customers can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on digital games such as roulette and slots

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals have long been controversial since their introduction to the UK betting market back in 2001 when gambling tax laws were changed, making the roulette machines a viable option for high street betting shops such as Ladbrokes and William Hill.
Although the design and number of games on the betting terminals has increased, the way in which they work has remained the same. This guide will look at the working of bookies roulette games, you can also take a look here to find out how Fixed Odds Betting Terminal bonus roulette games work, and any associated tips here.

All British Fixed Odds Betting Terminal roulette games are governed by the same laws, so obvious things such as the maximum stake and maximum prize per spin are consistent across the industry; £100 per spin, £500 maximum win per spin.
Less obvious controls are the maximum spins allowed per minute, as well as reminders about how long and how much you have spent on the betting terminal. Incidentally, the maximum number of spins allowed per minute is three, one every twenty seconds. That’s a massive rate of speed, and if you compare it with land based casinos who attempt to have an average of one spin every ninety seconds, you see the vast difference and why they constantly court controversy. The controversy has brought about a change, as discussed in the Guardian regarding the change of stake.

How Betting Terminal Roulette Works

If we take a standard bookies roulette game; 20p Roulette as an example. 20p Roulette is a computerised version of standard European roulette, and as such has 37 possible positions for the ball to land in, 0 through to 36. The odds returned to the player are 35/1 plus your winning stake back, making the odds returned 36/1. The house edge (bookies profit) is the remaining one number, which gives the player a long-term average percentage of 97.2%, with the bookies making on average 2.8%. The speed of play, combined with the amount of fixed odds betting terminals across the country converts this small percentage into huge profits for the four (soon to be three) major betting chains; Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill and Betfred.

FOBT Stats

  • There are a little under 9000 betting shops in the UK
  • Each betting shop is allowed a maximum of four betting terminals per premises 
  • The maximum win per game is £500, the maximum spin per game is £100
  • Currently roulette can be played at one spin every 20 seconds, allowing for £300 per minute to be gambled
  • There are roughly 50 games on each betting terminal, including multiple roulette and slot games
  • Money can be inserted directly into the FOBT or over the counter with cash or debit card

Due to the computerised nature of the betting terminals, it’s easy to cry foul when your numbers don’t come in, but you can be sure that the games are carefully regulated by independent third parties who put the random number generators through multiple tests. Read the Ladbrokes RNG test report here.

So how do the fixed odds betting terminals work? Each number on the roulette wheel is assigned a number to the RNG. Roulette is easy to work out as each number corresponds to the number on the wheel, slots however would have a number assigned to each position on the reel. You could work out the odds of hitting features and jackpots on slots providing you were able to see the complete sets of reels, then multiply each symbol the further along the reels you go.
Now each roulette position has been assigned a value, press start for the RNG to select a number. This number will correspond to a position on the wheel, with an animation then taking place to give a visual representation of the final outcome. The randomly selected number has no bearing on the value of the bet placed, and is entirely independent of any previous or future spins. People like to see patterns, even when there are none. The manufacturers play on this behaviour by showing how many spins since zero, or the percentage of red and black numbers over the previous 500 games. These stats to the RNG are meaningless and are better off ignored.

Bonus roulette games will work to the same principle, however the odds are extended due to the extra position on the wheel. The RNG concept described above applies to British bookies, it does not cover arcade or bingo hall roulette machines which may be running on a fixed percentage, these are known as compensated games and are mostly produced by Project Coin, although SG-Gaming has produced a few non-random games.

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