Culture minister Hugh Robertson has confirmed that the government will not be changing the law on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
This move is a blow to the many campaigners who are against these machines – list that includes Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman and MP Kelvin Hopkins who described them as the ‘crack cocaine’ of gambling.
Television programmes such as Channel 4’s Dispatches and BBC Panorama have highlighted the dangers of FOBTs and the general perception of the machines is extremely negative. They said to prey on the poor with the machines being particularly popular in deprived areas.
As a result, all forms of gambling are being viewed upon as damaging to the public, an unfair effect of the current situation. Many forms of gambling are entirely fair and we’re always trying to get potential viewers to view it as a form of entertainment. If you happen to win a nice payout then that’s an added bonus.
As well as stressing the entertainment aspect of many gambling activities, it’s also worth pointing out the payout percentages of respective games. The FOBTs in question usually payout around 70-75% which is about the same amount that fruit machines are also programmed to payout. This means that for every £100 that is put into them, only £70 – £75 will be won. However, these percentages apply over an infinite amount of time so they can vary in the short run.
In comparison, online casinos usually have overall payout percentages of around 97-98% – making them an obvious much better bet. Online casinos are still around to make money but are able to do so by offering the player a better chance of winning thanks to lower running costs. So, if you are looking to have a flutter then you would be well advised to head online rather than to you local bookmakers.