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A stupid gamble on evil machines

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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.

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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.

It was 233,071 times.

I mean, for fuck’s sake.

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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.

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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.

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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.…

The post A stupid gamble on evil machines appeared first on Eastern European Gaming – News – Interviews – Legal Market Updates – Premium Reports – Events – Directory.

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Source: EEGaming.

4Play

Fast Track Enters into Partnership with 4Play

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Fast Track, the leading player engagement platform built specifically for the iGaming industry, has partnered with 4Play, a dynamic and innovative gaming operator renowned for its exceptional player experiences in both casino and sports betting.

Launched in 2023, 4Play has rapidly gained recognition in the industry, primarily targeting the burgeoning Brazilian market. With a commitment to delivering unparalleled entertainment, 4Play offers its players a seamless experience in Portuguese, featuring popular gaming verticals such as casino and sports betting.

4Play’s decision to integrate Fast Track CRM comes as part of its strategic initiative to bolster player retention and streamline operations through advanced automation. Fast Track’s robust platform will enable 4Play to automate complex player journeys, ensuring each interaction is personalised and timely.

“We are excited to partner with Fast Track to elevate our player engagement strategies. Their innovative approach to CRM and their commitment to creating individualised player experiences align perfectly with our vision for 4Play. We look forward to leveraging their platform to enhance our player retention and operational efficiency,” Mateus Ihering, Chief Operating Officer of 4Play, said.

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Fast Track’s CRM platform, recognised for its real-time data capabilities and comprehensive automation suite, will support 4Play in achieving its business goals. By automating player communications and optimising the registration journey, 4Play aims to significantly increase its number of depositors while maintaining a high level of engagement among its 148,000 monthly active users.

Simon Lidzén, Co-Founder and CEO of Fast Track, said: “We are delighted to welcome 4Play into the Fast Track family. Their innovative spirit and dedication to providing top-tier player experiences make them an ideal partner. Together, we will set new standards in player engagement and retention, ensuring that 4Play continues to thrive in the competitive iGaming landscape.”

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Andrés Tamayo

Pragmatic Play Enhances FullReto Partnership with Virtual Sports Addition

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Pragmatic Play, a leading content supplier to the iGaming industry, has reinforced its commitment to Latin American expansion by strengthening its existing relationship with Colombian operator FullReto.

The latest agreement will see FullReto offer its players a broad selection of Pragmatic Play’s unique Virtual Sports titles, building on an already extensive offering of over 300 Slots and Live Casino games.

Fantastic League, Greyhound Racing, and the thrilling motor racing-themed Force 1 are among the games now available to FullReto customers as the operator looks to capitalise on the rapidly increasing popularity of Virtual Sports to consolidate its position as a leading platform in Colombia.

The multi-product partnership reaffirms Pragmatic Play’s intentions to expand its offering in the LatAm markets, with FullReto now offering a vast catalogue of Pragmatic’s award-winning games across three verticals.

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Victor Arias, Vice President of Latin American Operations at ARRISE powering Pragmatic Play, said: “Pragmatic Play is delighted to reinforce its partnership with FullReto by providing its players with access to its renowned Virtual Sports games. The deal not only emphasises Pragmatic Play’s desire to provide Colombian players with an exciting online gaming experience, but also demonstrates the supplier’s dedication to furthering its Latin American expansion.”

Andrés Tamayo, General Manager at FullReto, said: “FullReto’s continued collaboration with Pragmatic Play highlights our main objective of supplying the optimal player experience. The addition of Pragmatic Play’s Virtual Sports offering, on top of its Slots and Live Casino games, will ensure FullReto players have access to hundreds of fan-favourite games across a variety of verticals.”

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Alonso Huiman

Pragmatic Play Launches Live Casino Offer at Atlantic City

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Pragmatic Play, a leading content supplier to the iGaming industry, has expanded its Live Casino footprint across Peru after going live with major local operator, Atlantic City.

The partnership sees Pragmatic Play’s full Live Casino portfolio integrated with the operator, enabling players in Peru to enjoy market-leading titles such as Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat from the supplier’s award-winning portfolio.

This latest agreement showcases Pragmatic Play’s plans for growth in LatAm, exhibiting an array of its verticals across multiple territories in recent months. It is the latest deal signed by Pragmatic Play with a Peruvian operator, following a comprehensive growth strategy in the country.

Victor Arias, Vice President of Latin American Operations at ARRISE powering Pragmatic Play, said: “Atlantic City is one of Peru’s most reputable operators and offers another opportunity to showcase the Pragmatic Play Live Casino portfolio in Peru. With an offering that will deliver exceptional gaming experiences to players, this partnership promises to cement Pragmatic Play’s position at the forefront of the Peruvian iGaming industry.”

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Alonso Huiman, Chief of Online Casino at Atlantic City, said: “This landmark agreement with Pragmatic Play is a pivotal moment for us. Its vast selection of table and card games will resonate seamlessly with our player base and we are confident that this will propel our brand to new heights.”

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