The UK’s Labour Party introduced fruit machines called fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in the 1990s. And ever since, more and more Brits have become addicted to these machines. Now Paddy Power Betfair is calling for FOBTs to have slots bets reduced to £10.
The biggest reason why is because gamblers can bet as much as £100 per spin on FOBTs. And this has led to rapid losses worth as much as £300 per minute.
This has many groups asking for the government to step in and apply more controls to fixed-odds betting terminals. Some want slots bets reduced to as little as £2.
Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Labour Party, said that his party would review the industry to recommend necessary changes. In the meantime he advises that casinos do a better job of watching out for vulnerable gamblers.
Paddy Power Betfair has really taken the suggestions to heart and has joined the movement to control FOBT stakes.
Paddy Power Betfair CEO Writes Letter regarding FOBTs
Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran sent a letter to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport that called Britain’s current gambling environment “toxic.” Here’s an excerpt from his letter:
“We now believe 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 profitability under such circumstances. Other well-run operators should be able to do the same.”
Some Believe Paddy Power Betfair is Trying to Limit Competition
Paddy Power Betfair seems worried about consumers on the surface. But rival operators believe that the company is more worried about hampering competition.
Paddy Power has between 300-400 bookmakers on London’s High Street that would lose around £55 million with reduced stakes.
But Ladbrokes Coral has 3,660 bookies and would lose lose an estimated £449 million ($603m) in annual revenue. And William Hill has 2,375 bookies that stand to lose around £284 million ($382m).
Paddy Power Betfair has a stronger online presence than these two companies and would suffer less than their competitors.