Nowadays, gambling comes in many forms, one of which is gambling machines. These can be distinguished even further into slot machines, sportsbook booths and various other gaming machines.
One type of these arcade-like booths is the FOBT, which stands for fixed odds betting terminals. This type of gambling terminals is relatively new compared to other types of casino and gambling games.
They appeared in the UK in 2001 and have spread throughout betting shops as wild fire. As of today, more than 34,000 FOBTs are available throughout the country and thousands of people gamble on them every single day.
Yet, this doesn’t really explain what they are and what makes them so popular. That's what we do in this article, so you know all there is to know about FOBTs, how they work and why they provide great entertainment. As with every type of gambling, you should exercise caution and stay in control of your budget at all times, though!
What Are Fixed Odds Betting Terminals
Fixed Odds Betting Terminal is actually a very broad term that describes machines offering various games. FOBTs offer games like roulette, blackjack, poker, slots, simulated horse racing and other virtual sports.
However, all of these games have something in common that makes them FOBTs. You’ll know you’re playing on an FOBT machine if it fits all of the following descriptions.
- They have fixed odds – duh
Obviously, this is the most important characteristic of FOBTs. What this means is that all payouts are fixed and have the same chance of triggering. This is self-explanatory in games like roulette or blackjack.
However, even FOBT slots have fixed odds, unlike other fruit machines or online slots. The fixed odds on slots are achieved by altering the odds according to the bet size. The more you bet – the greater the odds of a win.
- They have fixed maximum stakes and payouts
There are different categories of fixed odds betting terminals, but all of them have a maximum win of £500. The maximum stake, however, differs with each category.
For example, B3 terminals have a maximum stake of £2. B2 terminals offer better odds by allowing much larger stakes up to £100.
- They allow players to bet every 20 seconds
These gambling machines are very popular, because they are very fast. This means that you could win big money in a matter of minutes.
The fixed payouts, high maximum wins and incredible speed turned fixed odds betting terminals into very popular and lucrative games. However, they’re usually more lucrative to the bookies than the players.
Fixed Odds Betting Terminals Addiction
High stakes, high speed and big wins turned out to be quite addictive and, as a result, FOBTs are now infamous for causing many people to get addicted and even bankrupt in the UK.
It wasn’t far off to call these terminals ‘crack cocaine of gambling’, a label which stuck to these games after they reached a yearly revenue of well over £1 billion. In fact, it has recently surpassed the £2 billion mark!
The undeniable danger these gaming machines bring has been noticed a long time ago, actually. In 2005, when the Gambling Act came into force, all betting shops were restricted to only four FOBTs per outlet.
However, the industry found a way around this rule and opened up more shops in the same locations to fit more of these terminals, because they were so lucrative. To this day, various people and organizations are trying to minimise the harm made by these games. And they’re actually getting close to a solution.
Recent News on FOBTs in the UK
As you may have heard before, fixed odds betting terminals have been directly linked with problem gambling in the UK. As a result, there have been several attempts to decrease the harm by lowering the maximum stake available on these games in the recent months.
The main goal of the anti-FOBT campaigns has been to reach a £2 maximum stake instead of the current £100. As of today, there’s no definite outcome yet. However, Gambling Commission and other organizations have agreed to lower the maximum bet to somewhere between £2 and £50.
In fact, the UKGC has stated a few days ago that they would propagate a maximum bet of £30. The £2 limit would only be applied to fixed odds slot machines, but many aren’t satisfied with this as slots aren’t nearly as popular as fixed odds roulette.
And if you’ve ever played a FOBT, you know that betting £30 every 20 seconds can still accumulate almost £1,000 losses in mere 10 minutes if you’re super unlucky. We’ve yet to see how this ends and whether the needs of society will come before the profits of businesses and the government. We have a strong feeling that it won't, unfortunately.
Setting Limit Per Bet
With all this noise about bet limits of fixed odds betting terminals, you might think that every FOBT player only stakes the maximum amount all the time.
Naturally, such a statement couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the sheer number of players of these games that contribute to their cosmic annual profits. As a result, some people don’t believe that even the £2 limit would help much.
Players can change the bet size every single round and it’s only the £100 limit that stops them. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to set a lower limit on these games, so even the staff won’t help here. The only thing they can do is exclude you from betting for a period of time altogether.
Fixed Odds Betting Terminals Tips
If all this notoriety related to FOBTs didn’t scare you off, there are several ways to increase your chances to fill your pockets on these games.
- Don’t gamble with more than you’re ready to lose
This is an obvious tip you’ve probably heard before, but it really works. You might not win as much with a lower budget, but it won’t affect your life as deeply if you lose either.
- Walk away while you’re still in the lead
If you do come out on top, cash out and leave the shop. And don’t come back any time soon, because you’re likely to lose all your winnings and then some if you’re still excited about your last good run.
- Understand the odds
Fixed odds betting can’t be played well without actually understanding the odds. After all, these games are entirely based on odds, so coming up with a strategy might prove more lucrative than just betting randomly.