United Kingdom government prepares FOBTs crackdown

The government has signalled that it is preparing to crackdown on FOBTs. But the extent to which the machines will be controlled is dividing the Treasury and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.


Fixed odds betting terminals in the UK have been under scrutiny for quite some time now, with multiple reports of residents asking the government to come up with a plan to determine the future of gaming machines in the territory. Despite the claims, it is still uncertain how the machines will be controlled in the United Kingdom.

As the Observer revealed, the extent to which the FOBTs will be managed and colored is facing a hurdle as the Treasury and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is divided on the subject. The news outlet has reportedly seen a letter from the chancellor Philip Hammond to the Bishop of St Albans, representing the church which believes that the machines have a devastating effect on gamblers and have been responsible of rising violence in some communities, The Guardian said.

The bishop wanted the chancellor to assure him that the review initiated by the DCMS will be published this fall. His intervention comes after a brief that the Treasury wasn’t sure if it wanted to cut the stakes. Nevertheless, Hammond was very adamant that the move was going to proceed: “Recent media reports on the status of the review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures are entirely without foundation. Both I and my department fully support DCMS’s work to ensure the UK’s gambling regime continues to balance the needs of vulnerable people, consumers who gamble responsibly, and those who work in this sector.

The national idea is to limit gaming publicity and to reduce FOBTs maximum stakes from £100 to just £2 as the Gambling Commission published evidence that they could be harmful for players. Whilst the review was supposed to be released this summer, the date was pushed bak and the move was welcomed by opponents to the terminals as they believe that the long consultation process means that the government is getting ready to take action against FOBTs.

Last week, the national gambling regulator UKGC issued a record £7.8 million fine against 888 Holdings as it found serious failings in its handling of vulnerable customers. The regulatory body disclosed on its website that inadequacies were found in a investigation of 888’s self-exclusion procedures for customers and that “888 also failed to recognise visible signs of problem gambling behaviour displayed by an individual customer, which was so significant that it resulted in criminal activity.” The firm said that it concluded a voluntary regulatory settlement with the UKGC, which had found a technical failure in 888’s systems where more than 7000 customers who had chosen to be self-excluded from the platform were still able to access the accounts on the bingo platform.…

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Source: EEGaming.