Fixed-odds betting terminals, or simply known as betting machines, are apparently extremely popular among gambling fans in Birmingham. Players in the city have spent more than £30 million on these electronic casino games over a period of just one year, making the city the third worst for losses in the United Kingdom after London and Glasgow.
Betting machines offering electronic casino-like games such as roulette or various sports to bet on are widely spread at casinos and betting shops across the United Kingdom. They have also become an important source of revenue for gambling operators in recent years as they attract all kinds of players with their relatively low bets, fast gameplay and interesting features. In one year, customers across Birmingham’s 188 betting shops have lost a little over £30 million while betting on this type of games, the Birmingham Mail’s digital channel reported on Wednesday.
Citing official figures for 2016, Birmingham Live explains that the city has become the third worst place in the country in terms of losses generated on betting machines. Previously, Birmingham’s New Street was ranked fifth in a similar study with the many famous bookmakers in the area, including Ladbrokes, William Hill, Betfred, and Coral. Players there, also says the online edition, have lost £31,545,125 over a period of just one year, which puts the city only behind London and Glasgow.
Gambling Spending and Gambling Addictions
The latest figures about Birmingham may sound alarming at first glance, but experts remind that gambling losses cannot and should not always be associated with problem gambling. The upcoming government crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals is expected to cut the maximum stake on these games from £100 to anything between £50 and £2. It is designed to reduce the number of problem gamblers, which is said to be continuously rising in the UK.
However, the vast majority of customers in high street betting shops play responsibly, including FOBTs, according to representatives of the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB). FOBTs have been under fire as they are said to be extremely addictive and in theory, players could lose £18,000 in an hour, as the electronic nature of these games allow stakes of up to £100 to be placed every 20 seconds. The reality is very different, experts at the ABB explain, adding that spending on betting machines accounts for only 13% of the total gambling spend.
According to the latest industry statistics, released by the UK Gambling Commission, there were 33,611 FOBTs (referred to as B2 machines) in the UK that generated gross gaming yield (GGY) of £1.8 billion in the year from April 2016 to March 2017. In comparison, the GGY of the UK gambling industry for the same period was £13.8 billion.