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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

FOBTs: the story so far

FOBTs first appeared in betting shops in 1999
1 of 1


Fixed odds betting terminals are first introduced to British betting shops. There are no limits on numbers and where they can be placed.

January 2003

The government expresses concern at the "increasing installation" of FOBTs in betting shops.

November 2003

Legal action between the Gaming Board – the Gambling Commission's predecessor – and the Association of British Bookmakers to test the legality of FOBTs is settled out of court. A code of practice limiting the number of machines to four per betting shop, setting maximum stakes at £100 and maximum prizes at £500, and limiting speed of play is introduced. Culture secretary Tessa Jowell says FOBTs are "on probation".

April 2005

The 2005 Gambling Act receives Royal Assent. FOBTs are categorised as B2 machines under the act, which provides a new framework for gaming machines including powers to prescribe maximum limits for stakes and prizes, and the number of machines permitted in different types of premises.

It is estimated there are 20,000 FOBTs in betting shops at this point.


Campaign For Fairer Gambling formed and goes on to the launch the Stop The FOBTs campaign.

July 2012

Culture, Media and Sport select committee report recommends that local authorities be allowed to lift the cap on gaming machine numbers to prevent 'clustering' of betting shops. It is not adopted by government.

March 2013

Chancellor George Osborne introduces machine games duty on FOBTs at a rate of 20 per cent.

September 2013

The Association of British Bookmakers launches its new Code for Responsible Gambling and Player Protection, which includes machine players being able to set their own time and monetary limits, as well as mandatory warnings being displayed on screen when certain limits are breached.

David Cameron (right): told Parliament tells parliament he thinks it is "worth having a proper look at the issue" of FOBTs
October 2013

Following the Triennial Review maximum stakes for FOBTs are left unchanged, although minister Helen Grant says their future remains "unresolved".

Later in the month prime minister David Cameron tells parliament he thinks it is "worth having a proper look at the issue" of FOBTs.

March 2014

Osborne shocks betting shop operators by raising machine games duty to 25 per cent.

April 2014

Grant announces new measures for FOBTs requiring customers accessing stakes of more than £50 to use account-based play or load cash over the counter.

September 2014

Senet Group launched. Members promise to take gaming machine advertising out of betting shop windows.

December 2015

ABB launches its Player Awareness Systems scheme in an effort to prevent problem gambling among machine players.

October 2016

The much-delayed triennial review is finally launched with a six-week call for evidence, the results of which are expected in spring 2017.

Theresa May: called a snap election, which delayed the announcement
April 2017

Prime minister Theresa May's decision to call a snap election delays announcement of the findings of the government's review until the autumn.

May 2017

Labour and Liberal Democrats pledge to reduce FOBT maximum stakes to £2 in their election manifestos.

October 2017

Outgoing Paddy Power Betfair chief executive Breon Corcoran breaks ranks to call for a cut in stakes to £10 or less.

Later in the month the government publishes the recommendations of its review.

Labour and Liberal Democrats pledge to reduce FOBT maximum stakes to £2 in their election manifestos in May this year
E.W. Terms
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