The government’s failure to clamp down on fixed-odds betting terminals must be down to stupidity or corruption and I’m not sure which of those I hope it is.
Which is better? Idiots or crooks? It would make a good parlour game.
It’s possible that I’ve spent more time among sick gamblers than you have (and if that’s not the case, we probably know each other). But if you’ve popped into a friendly high street bookmaker’s any time in the last 10 years, to bet on the FA Cup final or get some change for the parking meter, then you’ll have seen a “FOBT”.
A FOBT is a sort of glorified fruit machine with a choice of games (roulette, virtual sport, novelties) and a massive possible loss rate. The biggest difference between the old fruities and these devices, waved through by the Blair government of 2001, is that you can lose £500 a minute on a FOBT.
And people do.
How many times, in the year ending September 2016, do you think somebody lost more than £1,000 on one of these machines?
Have a think. We aren’t talking about rich people, glitzy casinos or friends having a big night out. We’re talking about people on their own, playing the slots on regular, trafficky, local streets. Poor people. Bored people. Sometimes desperate, sometimes ill. Lonely old men. Women with their babies locked in the car outside. The average national wage is about £25,000. How many times, over a year, do you think £1,000 or more was lost in a single gambling session, on a local high street, in these circumstances?
No. You’re wrong.
I mean, for fuck’s sake.
Let me confess: I myself have, often, lost more than £1,000 in a single gambling session. But when I’m losing £500 a minute, this is what I’m getting:
A high-end Las Vegas casino has sent a limousine to collect me from the airport. I’ve got a complimentary hotel room with a view of the iconic Vegas Strip. I’ve got free meals, free cocktails and a cabana (a sort of shady little house with loungers and a drinks cabinet) by a luxurious swimming pool.
This doesn’t make me clever. It makes me a mug. This is what casinos give you if they think you can afford to lose the money. But your man down the Kilburn High Road, losing at the exact same rate because he’s depressed, lost, stuck, sad and has nowhere else to be, gets the square root of sod all. He gets monotony, shame and kicked out at 10pm.
This guy (or girl) hasn’t opted in consciously. They never meant to get involved for those hours or play for those sums. They didn’t join a casino, they wandered into the bookies: outlets once considered cheery and welcome on British high streets because betting on horses is traditional, fun and, to a great extent, social. But in 2001, a black hole was unrolled in the middle of them. FOBTs are demons, succubi, squatting between the chemist and the bus stop like a pile of heroin on a cheese trolley.
UK city dwellers complain that there are now dozens of bookies in their nearest shopping street where there used to be one. But most don’t know why that is.
It’s because the government capped the number of FOBTs at four per shop. But these things are free money to their owners. Punters lose and lose and lose. And when they disappear, or kill themselves, or their child is taken into care and they start self-medicating with drugs instead, someone else steps blindly up to feed the monster. So, if you’re only allowed four per shop, open more shops!
What optimistic fool, no doubt some well-meaning MP or civil servant, thought up that “four max” rule? Did you think you were smarter than the bookies, love? We’ve all been there. That’s the fast route to eating cat food out of the tin.
But the latest government move can’t be about optimism. Everyone was expecting the betting cap (or possible loss) on these machines to be slashed. Labour and the Lib Dems went into the election actively promising it; the Tories hadn’t yet committed, but John Whittingdale warned the Association of British Bookmakers: “I can’t say I would be surprised if there are quite radical measures produced… You should brace yourself.”
And then, last week, Philip Hammond decided there would actually be no curb at all – because, according to a Whitehall source in the Daily Mail, the attendant loss of tax revenues would be “financially crippling”.
Is this bent or just stupid? The shops pay 25% duty on FOBTs (it’s much cheaper for them than horseracing). In return, we get an expensive rise in crime, theft and embezzlement, family breakdown, costly court proceedings and criminal damage as the machines are often smashed up. Meanwhile, many FOBT addicts are on welfare, so 100% of the money they put into the machines goes out of the Treasury and 25% comes back. Well done everybody.
Let’s say it’s not bent. The lobbying and hospitality for MPs is massive and rising, but I’d hate to suggest any impropriety. So that suggests a moronic misunderstanding of the true maths in play.
The argument is not being had on moral grounds. If our government said they were libertarians, planning to decriminalise all drugs and abolish income tax alongside this invitation to go skint in 10 minutes at teatime in the shop next to Tesco, we could have an interesting debate. We could weigh up that freedom against the depression and suicide, the abandoned children and associated crime, and really challenge ourselves.
But they argue this situation is financially profitable for us, as a nation? They think we make money from it? Jesus. That’s their understanding of economics? As professional gamblers say about chumps: I’d like to be locked up with them.
The above article written by Victoria Coren Mitchell, first appeared on The Guardian.…
CT Interactive Signs Deal with Torrero Platform
CT Interactive has signed a key deal with Torrero Platform N.V and Тorrero Ltd, prominent players in the iGaming industry.
“We are so proud to partner with Torrero. Torrero Platform is a leading player in the iGaming industry, offering a comprehensive suite of solutions designed to empower operators and enhance player engagement. Through this partnership, we will increase our presence in Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Asia,” Lachezar Petrov, CEO at CT Interactive, said.
With a focus on delivering exceptional gaming experiences, CT Interactive continues to push boundaries in the iGaming space through its commitment to quality, creativity, and player-centric offerings.
Antonio Donov, Business Development Manager EMEA at CT Interactive, said: “The collaboration between CT Interactive and Torrero Platform is underpinned by a shared commitment to delivering excellence in the iGaming space. By combining our resources, knowledge, and networks, both companies stand to benefit from the partnership.”
Aleksei Tolstov, Head of Business Development at Torrero, said: “The agreement entails that CT Interactive will be launched on various platforms, including betmaster.com, betmaster.ie, casinoin.ie, bongo.io, and betmaster.com.mx. These games will be accessible in markets spanning from Mexico to Estonia. Torrero.com offers customized casino and sportsbook solutions globally, providing game aggregation services and enhancing multiple brands to deliver top-notch experiences.”
Pragmatic Play Grows in Paraguay and Brazil with Giro Win
Pragmatic Play, a leading content supplier to the iGaming industry, is achieving further expansion in Paraguay and Brazil after signing a multi-vertical deal with Giro Win.
The deal encompasses the supplier’s Slots, Live Casino and Virtual Sports products, bringing its portfolio to an even greater LatAm audience.
Pragmatic Play’s Slots portfolio has seen numerous player-favourite additions in recent weeks that will soon be available for Giro Win’s costumers, including new titles in the iconic Big Bass franchise as well as the renowned John Hunter series. The agreement also includes award-winning staples such as Sugar Rush and Gates of Olympus.
The supplier’s Live Casino content stretches from casino classics such as roulette and blackjack to captivating live game shows such as Sweet Bonanza CandyLand and Snakes & Ladders Live that are also part of the agreement.
Also included is Pragmatic Play’s Virtual Sports, powered by a real-time physics engine and providing life-like renditions of popular sports such as Formula 1, greyhound racing and horse racing, on-demand to sports bettors.
As it further expands across LatAm, Pragmatic Play continues its commercial trajectory and ambitions of delivering fresh content to even more players than ever before.
Victor Arias, Vice President of Latin American Operations at ARRISE powering Pragmatic Play, said: “With LatAm remaining a source of commercial growth for Pragmatic Play, its latest partnership with Giro Win underpins its ongoing commitment to bringing a dynamic entertainment offering to more consumers in the region.
“Giro Win is an esteemed operator in the Latin American market and Pragmatic Play is proud of this new partnership that will see its Slots, Live Casino and Virtual Sports soon integrated to its platform.”
Hélio Cuevas, Director of Giro Win, said: “Pragmatic Play’s portfolio boasts some of the best games in the industry and it will be a welcome addition to our offering. We have no doubt the response to the large quantity of Slots, Live Casino and Virtual Sports titles that Pragmatic Play offers will match the overwhelming reception they have already experienced worldwide.
“Giro Win and Pragmatic Play share a vision of powering up new possibilities for players and delivering an unmatched experience and we are delighted to now count them as a partner.”
Pragmatic Play to Have Significant Presence at SBC Summit Latinoamérica
Pragmatic Play, a leading content supplier to the iGaming industry, is set to be in attendance at the upcoming SBC Summit Latinoamérica.
Exhibiting at stands G40 and H40, Pragmatic Play’s leading portfolio of multi-product content will be on display to cement its standing as the leading supplier to the Latin American market.
Pragmatic Play will be a Gold Headline Sponsor of the event, where the team will join attendees at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Miami from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November.
The conference forms part of its LatAm Mission Itinerary, a campaign to inform delegates across leading industry events how Pragmatic Play can twist, transform, and elevate gaming experiences. Marking Mission #12, the provider’s attendance will be figure-headed by its Spaceman, the main character from its market-leading crash game title.
The Pragmatic Play team will be on hand at its stands to greet both current and potential clients and detail the advancements it has made in the realms of Slots, Live Casino, Virtual Sports, and Bingo.
Victor Arias, Vice President of Latin American Operations at ARRISE powering Pragmatic Play, said: “Pragmatic Play is thrilled to announce its attendance at the upcoming SBC Summit Latinoamérica and looks forward to welcoming attendees and gaining a deeper understanding of the lively Latin American market.
As Mission #12 in Pragmatic Play’s LatAm itinerary, it has a lot in store for the conference and will reaffirm its commitment to providing new dynamic experiences that allow its partners to excel.”
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