FOBT stake restrictions come info force
April 2, 2019
As of 01/04/19 maximum stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) in high-street bookmakers have been reduced from £100 to £2.
FOBTs are electronic slot machines often containing some of the most popular slots as well as games such as roulette and blackjack. However, if we compare these same slots and games with the ones we find at online bookmakers we see that the theoretical Return to Player % (RTP) is lower. For example, a standard slot game on a FOBT can have a slot with an RTP of between 90-94%, whereas online we can easily find slots in excess of 96% RTP.
Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur highlighted the importance of customer safety: “We have been closely monitoring operators’ plans to manage the implementation of the stake cut and we will continue to watch very carefully to ensure that any changes and developments to these products are done with a focus on customer safety.”
However, it seems some highstreet bookmakers do not plan on playing ball. The Guardian has reported that on the very same day these restrictions came into play, new high stakes games have been released. Games include Virtual Cycling and ‘Pick n 36’ with max stakes of £500 and £100 respectively. The difference this time is that bets over the new max stake of £2 must be placed over the counter, seemingly allowing high-street bookmakers to bypass the new regulations.
Executive director of the gambling commission, Helen Venn said: “We are aware of these products and we are investigating. We have been extremely clear about our expectations in relation to how operators should implement the stake reduction. This is why we have been monitoring developments closely and last week we wrote to operators to remind them of their responsibilities to ensure consumers are protected. Where we see businesses failing to act responsibly in response to the stake reduction we will not hesitate to step in.”
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