Government moves to curb FOBTs

04/09/2012

Plans have been announced to curb the rules on fixed-odds betting terminals. Government ministers want to cap bets on the machines, most familiarly found in bookmakers’ shops. The Liberal Democrats are seeking a cap on stakes at £2 and there are also plans to enforce stricter rules on age restrictions. The moves fly in the face of recommendations by a Commons Culture Select Committee, which as recently as July proposed that gambling rules be relaxed and that there should be a scrapping of the limit of four FOBTs in betting shops.

Ministers have become concerned at the ability of players to lose a great deal of money very quickly, staking £100 at a time on casino games. FOBTs have been heavily criticised by those sections of the industry which represent AWPs and arcades.

In the national press yesterday, ‘sources’ were quoted as predicting early moves on the subject, but this is tempered by a fear that cracking down on gambling in bookmakers’ shops could merely push players into the arms of internet gambling companies.

David Snook

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