Fixed odds betting terminals - Commons Library Standard Note

Published 05 February 2015 | Standard notes SN06946

Authors: John Woodhouse

Topic: Gambling

Fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) are electronic machines that play a variety of games, including roulette. Each machine accepts bets for amounts up to a pre-set maximum and pays out according to fixed odds on the simulated outcomes of games.

The Gambling Act 2005 classified FOBTs as B2 gaming machines. Up to four machines can be sited on betting premises. The maximum stake on a single bet is £100, the maximum prize is £500.

B2 machines have proved controversial since they first appeared. Critics point out that it is possible to lose large amounts of money playing on the machines. They also claim that the machines have a causal role in problem gambling.

The gambling industry says there is no evidence of a causal link between B2 machines and problem gambling. It also claims that reducing the maximum stake to £2, as some critics are campaigning for, would put betting shops and jobs at risk.

The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, a body advising the Gambling Commission, has said that the correlations and associations between gaming machines and gambling-related harm are “poorly understood”.

The Government wants to consider the findings of research published in December 2014 by the Responsible Gambling Trust before making any decision on the future of B2 machines

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