Report Says Punters Have Lost £11 billion on FOBTs since 2008
The surprise elections in the UK gave some reprieve to Bookmakers who were facing a crackdown on their cash cows namely the highly controversial fixed odd betting terminals or affectionately dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling”.
While they can rest easy for a while, the opponents to FOBTs have vowed to continue their struggle to ensure that the restrictions planned come into place. A report just released by Landman Economics will add more fuel to the debate as figures shows punters have lost more than £11 billion on FOBTs since 2008. In addition to this staggering figure they are also responsible for the loss of around 200,000 jobs in the UK. The estimates are that around £50 billion has been wagered on these machines since 2008 with the average punter losing around £8,000.
The main restrictions that politicians are looking to impose is the maximum bet stake which currently is as high as £100. Supporters of a crackdown on FOBTs are looking for a limit of £2 which according to the likes of Philip Blond, director of Tory thinktank Respublica will “secure family life and promote prosperity. “
The talks about a crackdown and the media attention the FOBTs have received has had a positive impact. According to figures in March released by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, the number of punters placing bets at the £100 max has decreased by 60% since the crackdown. Sessions on the machines are also lasting longer and the number of games where the first spin is £100 has dropped by 30 percent.
It remains to be seen what the next measure will be in an effort to curb the massive losses incurred by players. The only certainty is that the bookmakers will continue to fiercely defend their stance on FOBTs as they still make up a large percentage of their overall revenues.