Monday November 03,2014 : F.O.B.T. RESTRICTIONS TO BE ANNOUNCED TODAY
Punters will be required to select time or monetary limits.
British retail betting shop operators are expected to announce today (Monday) new restrictions on Fixed Odds Betting Terminal wagering which will require punters to impose time or bet limits on themselves.
Those who fail to do so will be forced by shop staff to take a break when they have been playing for 30 minutes or if their losses reach GBP 250, the Telegraph newspaper reports.
The restrictions are part of voluntary moves by operators to pre-empt government action on the controversial machines, which have become the focus of political, activist and media attention and campaigns in recent months .
It is understood that operators have set a date of January 30 next year for the full implementation of the operator-induced restrictions, which are accompanied by betting shop window notices on responsible gambling. A new national Responsible Gambling Week in the final week of January 2015 will promote the changes.
High rollers who try to spend more than GBP 50 a session playing on FOBTs must be monitored and perhaps registered, the UK government has further recommended.
The initiatives are likely to have a calming effect on FOBT action, with operators reporting that 75 percent of punters who set their own money limits stop depositing when their limit has been reached.
Spokesmen for leading operators claim that only a small percentage of FOBT punters reach limits as high as the mandatory 30 minutes of play or GBP 250 in deposits; they say that the bulk of players use the FOBTs for between 5 and 8 minutes, and rarely lose more than GBP 7.
Despite the continuing public furore over FOBTs, operators hope the government will now allow the industry and its voluntary restrictions to settle down, appealing for a period of stability to accurately assess how helpful the voluntary moves have been.
The industry also awaits the report on FOBTs by the Responsible Gambling Trust, which is due to be published this month.
Major gambling companies have recently placed a fresh emphasis on responsible gambling; in September, Gala Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill announced the creation of an independent watchdog to name and shame companies which break pledges on responsible advertising, or persist in aggressive or predatory promotional activity.