FOBTs £2 Stake Cut
- The much delayed cut to fixed odds betting terminal stakes has finally been confirmed
- Bookies will shortly see all betting terminal stakes cut to a maximum of £2 per game, including roulette
- Slots will be pretty much uneffected by the £2 stake cut, however it will almost certainly see an end to traditional FOBT roulette
It’s finally been confirmed, after so much dithering and delay by the government, FOBT stakes will be cut to a maximum of £2. The massive 98% cut in fixed odds betting terminal stakes will be seen as great news for the majority of betting shop gamblers.
Although FOBT roulette makes most of the headlines, the stake cut will also effect the slot machines which can be played on Mega and Fortune Spins of up to £50 per game. It’s often difficult to justify these high stakes with such a low return, and it’s nice to see the government acting in the best interests of the majority of FOBT gamblers, rather than big business. Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘When faced with the choice of halfway measures or doing everything we can to protect vulnerable people, we have chosen to take a stand.”
Cutting the maximum stake on FOBTs from £100 to £2;
- The Gambling Commission is to toughen up protections around online gambling including stronger age verification rules and proposals for customer spending limits
- A multi-million-pound advertising campaign promoting responsible gambling
- Responsible gambling messages to appear for the duration of all TV adverts
- A Public Health England review of the public health harms of gambling
- A review of age limits for National Lottery games at the time of the next licence competition
As is to be expected, the major betting shop chains; Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral and Betfred have been opposed to the stake cuts, citing store closures and job losses. William Hill have forecast that around 900 of its shops will run at a loss after the £2 FOBT stake limit is implemented.
Understandably, the bookies funded Association of British Bookmakers were less upbeat about the news: “This is a decision that will have far-reaching implications for betting shops on the high street. We expect over 4,000 shops to close and 21,000 colleagues to lose their jobs.”
Fixed odds betting terminals became prolific in 2005 after Labour relaxed the gambling laws , with many UK high streets now dominated by betting shops. There are currently 33,611 fixed odd betting terminals in the UK, with each on average making £53,000 per year.
The stake cut to fixed odds betting terminals were not the only form of gambling to come under the spotlight:
- Online casinos will need to carry out affordability checks
- The minimum age to play the National Lottery will increase from 16 to 18
- TV gambling adverts will have to show a responsible gambling message for the entire duration of the advert
The stake cut to £2 on the fixed odds betting terminals will not be implemented straight away, giving the bookies time to adjust to the change. I’ll post updates as soon as a fixed date is confirmed.
What do you think of the £2 FOBT stake cut? Let me know in the comments below.