FOBTs have been hitting the news recently for all the wrong reasons and there has been a lot of people saying things about then that are simply not true. These ten facts are not the answer to the problems they seem to cause, but they should put a few people straight on them…
10 – Fact: Bookies do a lot to help people with a gambling problem
Not only do all the main bookies have set rules on protecting people with a gambling issue they also enforce the rule if anyone has asked for “self-exclusion”. The bookie can stop you playing these machines (thanks to a link to their main network) and in extreme circumstances even power them down to stop someone playing them and if forced will call the police to have them removed from the premises.
9 – Fact: Most people see them as safer than playing online
Some of the older generation who are responsible for most a bookie’s earnings are not into the new digital era of gambling and prefer to use these machines because they can pay in cash and know if there is a problem the bookie is always there to help them. How many websites can you say are just a shout away from helping you? Not many at all (if any).
8 – Fact: They have saved a lot of shops from closing and kept people in jobs
These machines offer a real alternative to people having a gamble online as they are safe, secure and you can use cash instead of digital transfers. Its all well and good looking at the harm they cause a small majority of people who use them, but you should also look at the good things they offer as well.
7 – Fact: They are not made to be “addictive” they are made to be fun, fair, reliable and accurate!
The machine developers didn’t set out to take over the world with these “addictive” machines, they are made to offer people a good range of games and as much fun packed into each machine as they can. In fact, they are made in the same way all video poker and video slot machines are made, just a little more modern.
6 – Fact: Millions of people play these machines each and every day and 99% of them won’t have a problem gambling.
Calling these machines the “crack” of gambling machines isn’t a fair picture of the pleasure they bring to these people. Sure, some people do have a problem with them, but they will also have the same issues with online gambling or just about any form of gambling.
5 – Fact: FOBTs do offer players a better range of games than traditional video slots.
Some people seem to think you can only play roulette on these machines, but the truth is there are a range of games people can play and that is why they are so popular, there is something on them for everyone to play, young and old.
4 – Fact: Removing these machines from local betting shops will NOT STOP people with a gambling problem!
With some online roulette websites that dreaded £100 per spin is chicken feed and some sites allow up to £10,000 per spin!!! If a person does sadly have an issue with gambling they will find other ways to do it.
3 – Fact: The smallest wager (per spin) is just £1
Sure, you can make that number higher than that, but cutting these machines down to just £2 per spin isn’t going to stop many people with problems from playing them.
2 – FACT: The machines are located all over the world, not just the UK.
Some people seem to think they are only found in UK betting shops, but these machines have been around in casino around the world for the last 15 years, some people say that if you include higher range video poker machines (pokies) that date is much older!
1 – FACT: The machines does indeed pay out 97%
Some people have been saying this means 97% per spin and that is simply not true at all. This number is based on a long-term use, not per spin. Sure the house edge of 2.7% will indeed compound over a long period of time, but the return to player (RTP) never changes at all.
At the end of the day if you have a problem gambling you can always get help as it is out there, even your local bookie can point you in the right direction as they are trained to offer genuine advice. But getting rid of the 33,319 FOBTs in Britain’s Betting shops is not going to stop anyone who really wants to gamble their life away. I agree that more help for people with a gambling problem is indeed needed, but the answer doesn’t start or end with Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.