Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) have been causing quite a stir in the UK over the last few years, with many organisations against their use claiming they are additive and the main cause of people becoming gambling addicts. To help combat the problem the 33,000 machines situated across the country will now allow customers to set time limits and limits on the amount of money they spend thanks to a new code of conduct from the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB).
Due to essential testing and installation the roll-out of the new limits will take at least six months to complete, but once installed all customers will be able to set their own limits regarding how much time they wish to play on the machines, as well as how much money they wish to spend. As well as the limits set by the customers the machines will also issue mandatory alerts once a player has spent £250, as well as issuing a warning after 30 minutes play. When these particular limits are triggered an alert will appear on screen and issue a 30 second stoppage of the game.
Dirk Vennix is the Chief Executive of the ABB and he had this to say regarding the new code of conduct. He said “We recognise growing concerns that some customers are spending too much money or too much time on gaming machines. We believe the measures strike the right balance between protecting customers without stopping the enjoyment of the eight million people who play on gaming machines without any problems.”
Helen Grant is the UK Culture Minister and she had this to say in response to the comments made by Dirk Vennix from the ABB. She said, “Problem gambling is a serious issue and we are determined to help tackle it. We want there to be a competitive gambling sector, but not at the expense of public protection, and our ongoing review is focused on that.”
It remains to be seen if the new code of conduct will have an effect on the amounts of money spent on the FOBTs situated across the UK, but any measure that will help limit serious gambling issues has to be applauded, even if it is seen as a token gesture by some.