The UK Gambling Commission UKGC has made a suggestion for a new regulation to be created in order to comply with the requests of both gaming opponents and high street operators.
The industry watchdog wants to set the maximum stake within fixed odds betting terminals (FOTB) in betting shops to £30 ($41).
Setting The Maximum Stake
The UK is set to announce a £2 ($2.8) maximum stake on gaming machines which offer traditional fruit slot games.
The question of fixed odds betting terminals (FOTB) is definitely an important one, since it gives players a chance to bet on the outcome of various games in one place, and has become a major source of income for the British bookmakers.
Although the UKGC pointed out the recommendation for stakes could go up to £50 ($70.7), MPs campaigning against roulette-style gambling games had called for stakes on FOBTs to be cut all the way down to £2 ($2.8).
These MP pointed out their concerns about the risks involved in playing casino-style games, but the commission said the stakes for games such as roulette should be set at £30 or lower.
Government Must Do the Right Thing
Tom Watson, the Labour party deputy leader and a prominent opponent of FOBTs said the new recommendations represented a deeply disappointing report from the Gambling Commission, which appeared to had caved in to industry pressure. He added these machines were the heart of the UK's hidden epidemic of problem gambling, and that the government had to slash the stakes to £2 ($2.8) on all FOBTs, including the highly addictive roulette-style games.
Carolyn Harris, Labour MP and the chairperson of the parliamentary group which investigates FOBTs, said the outcome was disappointing, but added she was still confident that the government would see past this and do the right thing, as the moral argument had been made so overwhelmingly for £2 ($2.8).
This recommendation from UKGC could be seen as a positive move for high street bookmakers since more than 50% of their annual revenue comes from FOTBs. If FOBTs stakes were set to £2 ($2.8), this would cause catastrophic losses to shops.
The Gambling Commission's recommendation is still under consideration, but the MP campaigners continue to urge the Government to take more drastic measures and cut the stakes to the aforementioned sum.