ith the government about to release its long-awaited review on FOBTs, expected to recomment a £ 2 limit for maximum stakes —it is currently at £ 100—, Paddy Power Betfair Chief Executive Breon Corcoran considered the debate on the machines has become “so toxic” that it is necessary to “address social concerns.”
While betting companies have been long claiming that a curb on the machines would lead to job losses, anti-gambling campaigners actively resist FOBTs, also known as B2 machines.
On its official website, the Campaign for Fairer Gambling calls to “stop” these terminals:
“Gambling regulation should be not be designed to protect the gambling sector operators, the politicians that approved it, or the regulators that should enforce it. It should be designed and interpreted to protect the consumers – the gamblers. The UK 2005 Gambling Act has many flaws but the most significant flaws relate to FOBTs.
FOBTs (fixed odds betting terminals), also known as B2 machines – the gaming machines you find offering roulette in high street betting shops – were introduced when the betting shop sector was unregulated and have since multiplied to now be dubbed the “crack cocaine of gambling.
We want them stopped."
The Financial Times reported that Mr. Corcoran addressed a letter to Tracey Crouch, the minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport leading the FOBTs review, saying the government should set a stakes limit of “£10 or less” considering that “well-run operators” should be able to protect their business.
“Whilst we are not aware of any evidence which links stake size to problem gambling, we are acutely aware of the increasing reputational damage to the gambling industry that has followed lack of progress in this area. We now believe that the issue has become so toxic that only a substantial reduction in FOBT stake limits to £10 or less will address societal concerns. I am confident we could operate our retail business successfully and profitably under such circumstances. Other well-run operators should be able to do the same,” Mr. Corcoran wrote.