Stakes Reduction in UK – a Gambling Challenge on FOBT
The month of April 2019 was a challenge for the UK gambling industry, when the Government announced serious stakes reduction for the old-fashioned fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
After a painstaking assessment of the system, it was stated a new rule: the maximum stake of the machines cut at £2 from £100. It should be an efficient way in protecting the exposed to risk gambles.
The gaming machines have been considered to have high addictive character, due to the options to place numerous bets at high rates in short period of time. Critics underlined also the appealing effects of the winning sounds and blinking lights on the players. All these factors could influence loosing large amounts of money and increasing the problem gambling.
Naturally the new sever policy was not greeted by the UK gambling industry, seeing the link of FOTB – gambling problem being unjustified. More of all, many important bookmakers worried regarding the Government restrictions, thinking on the destructive influence on the betting shops and their employees’ jobs.
The UK gambling operators concerned that the reduced maximum stake would conduct to the betting store closure and laying people off. Referring to the devastating impact related to FOBT maximum bet cutting, the British gambling magnate William Hill asked its landlords to reduce its splits by 50%.
Rent reduction could help them partially to survive and continue offering services to their customers. On the other hand, this renting measure would not be a durable achievement for the gambling operators.
In this way, some gambling analysts considered it would be essential to focus on other strategies to generate great revenue on FOBTs in the future.
Roulette-Style Games as a Provocation to the New FOBT Policy
The new FOBT rules overturned the gambling world, but not smashed it. The individuals with strong gambling spirit made some efforts not to sink in the new restrictions, but to implement the perturbation theory into practice.
Therefore, two gambling companies in the country tried to overcome the restrictions and to find new strategies for gambling performances.
What did they do? They reacted to the imposed measures, launching new gaming products on the same day the FOBTs restrictions entered into force. It was a reply to the authority bet policy and a chance to avoid the strict rules.
Paddy Power Betfair is one of the gambling companies that developed a roulette-style game called “Pick ‘n’ 36” with the maximum stake of £100 – exactly as the FOBTs max strake before the restrictions. Moreover, the new-roulette game was on the trial in 320 betting stores from the launching day.
Betfred is another gambling firm that took a crack at a new roulette-style game, launching “Virtual Cycling”. The game allowed to gambles to spend £500 per bet – an incredible maximum stake.
It is correctly to mention that there was also a third gambling operator interested in the roulette-game – it was Williams Hill, who expressed the worries resulting from the FOBT maximum stake reduction in April. He planned to try-out the game “Wonderball”, with the maximum stake of £50 and with prizes over £25,000.
The responsible stakeholders took a prompt feedback concerning the new games and their max stakes, affirming that the gambling industry was trying to cheat the system.
The UK Gambling Commission ensured that they were aware of the new gaming products, keeping them under-control and monitoring. They pointed out that the bookmakers had to focus on the customers’ rights protection and implement the stakes reduction under the law.
Online Gambling Across the Ocean in US
Last years an increased number of gamblers gave preference to the online gaming, instead of going to the betting shops every time they wished to play. The online comfort and accessibility offered them the chance to make bets anytime and anywhere, due to the big technology advancements in the last years.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) remarked the online gambling increasing position and popularity in Britain. The database revealed that the mobile phones remained secondly preferred by the British players in 2018.
In addition, the gambling companies decided to use the mobile technology into their benefit, developing quickly the online gambling industry. However, being constrained by the severe Government restrictions on the fixed-odds betting machines, many UK gambling operators looked for the possibilities to extend their activity abroad. In this way, they assured to cover the destroying effects of the new rules and to increase their profits.
The USA became very attractive in this domain, as sports betting had been legal from May 2018. Related to this chance, many British gambling operators focused on the US for their extension, wishing to increase their customers and profits.
It is not a secret that many UK companies have intention to spread their online services and to get their payback after the FOBTs crash.