Gambling

More on FOBTs and Gambling Outrage

I wanted to follow on from my previous post regarding Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, or FOBTs. I mentioned previously that playing them makes no sense. However it is obvious that many people do, and that they can be addictive.

The machines allow an individual to play a variety of games, although the most commonly used is roulette.

It is a joint responsibility of government, the gambling industry AND the individuals who play, to make sure that these machines are used in a responsible manner. Many people tend to focus only on the first two, and somehow absolve the player of any personal responsibility. This is nonsense, but such is the way of the liberal world at the moment. Nobody has to take responsibility for their own actions. It’s all someone else’s fault.

So, this week has seen the government bring forward its plans to limit the stake on each game to £2. It had previously been £100. The idea is that people will still play, but will no longer have the potential to lose so much money so quickly.

Fine in theory, but what about the practice? Has this even been trialled anywhere? If not, how do we know how people will react?

Turning To Mobile Apps Instead

If people are playing the machines because of the permitted higher stakes, which give the ability to win or lose larger sums, then perhaps with lower limits they won’t play them at all? That sounds fine in theory, and maybe you might say that would be a good thing. That is, until you consider that they do have other options. For example, it’s just as easy to use your phone and download a betting app, which gives you the ability to gamble even larger sums, just as quickly.

Using a mobile casino, you can get right back to using large stakes. But unlike FOBTs, there is no way to limit the number of mobile casinos that someone can access. Most are regulated, but others are offshore and beyond the regulatory power of the UKGC.

So if people are driven away from FOBTs and towards mobile betting apps, won’t that potentially just make the problem a whole lot worse? The people who want to gamble with large stakes will continue to gamble with large stakes. They’ll just be doing it in an uncontrolled environment which is far harder (or in some cases impossible) to regulate. How is that going to help anyone?

This is another example of liberal outrage pushing for legislation that has not been properly tested or thought through. It makes you wonder whether they do actually care about protecting vulnerable people at all, or whether they just like to find easy targets to direct their vitriol.