We believe B2 machines also known as FOBTs (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals), in betting shops, should be subject to the following restrictions. Our recommendations below will help move FOBTs towards the 2005 Gambling Act objectives:
1. Reduce the number of machines from four per shop to one
Current turnover on machines is 80% of business in shops with the other 20% being over-the-counter betting on sports and racing. The shops have betting licenses, so betting should be the primary activity.
The machines are gaming machines, so a reduction to one machine from four machines is likely to lead to turnover being closer to 50% gaming and 50% betting.
2. Reduce the current maximum stake on FOBTs from £100 to £2
The average stake is known to be nearly £7. There will be far more stakes placed at amounts lower than £7 compared to stakes placed above £7. There is no justification for allowing gaming machines in betting shops to have higher maximum stakes than gaming machines in casinos. Generally £2 is the casino gaming machine maximum. This £2 upper limit should also apply to betting shops.
3. Remove table game content from FOBTs
Roulette, Blackjack and other card games have been played on FOBTs. The pace of these games is far faster than in the real casinos. Players think they are getting the same fair deal as in a casino but will lose far faster on FOBTs because of the faster FOBT game pace.
4. Reduce the spin frequency
The current delay between wagering on spins is only 20 seconds. Increasing this to 60 seconds will make the game content less addictive.