Opinions

Why Restriction On FOBT Bets Is Just The Beginning

Are restrictions on fixed betting machines just the start of a wider, stronger clampdown?

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Are restrictions on fixed betting machines just the start of a wider, stronger clampdown?

Opinions

Why Restriction On FOBT Bets Is Just The Beginning

Are restrictions on fixed betting machines just the start of a wider, stronger clampdown?

Share this article

With the introduction of a £2 limit on fixed odds betting terminals now confirmed by the UK government, it’s unlikely that campaigners will stop with this latest victory. Gambling turnover in Britain is increasing year on year, so we ask the question, does more need to be done to protect those that are vulnerable to addiction?

There is no doubt that something needed to be done with regards to betting limits on FOBT’s. Known as the crack cocaine of gambling, these fixed odds games allow punters to spend £100 every 20 seconds. Stop anyone on the high street and ask them if stakes needed to be reduced and the overwhelming answer is yes.

But some warn that these measures don’t go far enough. In Ireland, where FOBT’s were banned in 2013, campaigners argue that, people with gambling addictions have sort to get their fix from alternative betting products. Virtual sports have seen a particular increase in turnover since the machines were outlawed, leading some to question how effective the ban has actually been.

Campaigners argue that the ban will merely drive people to bet online, either in their home or on their smartphone, where there are currently no restrictions on wagering.

The explosion in betting online has continued unabated over the last decade and it seems as though the Government firmly intends to press on with regulation, to ensure that players are protected from predatory bookmaking behaviour and ultimately from themselves.

This predatory, or unfair behaviour has already been highlighted, with the introduction of new rules governing free bets and bonuses that bookmakers offer to customers for signing up or for loyalty to the brand.

We can’t help but feel that further restrictions on the speed of betting and stake values are likely to be investigated in future years to ensure that regulation covers all aspects of betting in the UK.

There are some that argue that this smacks of the nanny state restricting individual freedoms and that an individual over the age of 18 years old should be free to make their own choices and be responsible for their own actions. But look at history and you will see that the government feels that this simply doesn’t wash.

Government went after the tobacco industry with ever increasing ferocity, firstly banning advertising and then moving on to the prevention of fancy packaging. It seems as though alcohol is now moving the same way with the minimum pricing introduction in Scotland.

Gambling is another so called sin industry and whilst there are many people (if not the majority) that enjoy a bet without becoming severely addicted, there needs to be adequate protection for those that do suffer from the blight that is gambling addiction and this can only be achieved through consistent regulation across all gambling products.

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Why Restriction On FOBT Bets Is Just The Beginning

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