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Are Fixed Odds Betting Terminals Random?


The majority of Betting Terminal games are random, the usage of the word ‘fixed odds’ can confuse the situation, however it applies to the odds remaining the same for each bet i.e. roulette pays 36/1, this bet is ‘fixed’ on those odds, unlike live sports for example, who’s odds change frequently so therefore does not have ‘fixed odds’.

To confuse matters, not all of the games are random but to simplify things you should know that all of the roulette games are random, as are the majority of the slots and card games. The non-random games are mostly those supplied by Project Coin who brought us Mega Bars and all variations of that game. Other non-random games are all of the pub fruit machines, which payout according to a set percentage, and therefore may become more playable the more money that is played through.

It is important to note that the roulette games are random, and as such, chasing certain outcomes due to previous bets is not advisable. The outcome of each bet is determined the moment you press the bet button, the animation that follows is pre-set and is for show only.

So Are They Rigged?


Legally they are not allowed to be rigged, but it also wouldn’t make any sense in fixing the machines. Roulette makes the operator money despite the random outcome, this is because the odds are in the operators favour, you needn’t look any further than to Las Vegas, a city built on gambling losses. The problem comes from the speed at which you can bet, and the betting limits applied which restrict large wins.

The maximum win per spin cannot exceed £500, with the maximum spins per minute at three, that is one spin every 20 seconds. A real life casino couldn’t compete with that, and as such the turnaround of bets is far higher, with the succession of outcomes also moving faster.

Fixed Odds Betting Laws


Despite the countless betting shops doted along most High Streets, there are restrictions in what the terminals can do. In general the rules are:

  • A maximum of three spins per minute on roulette.
  • A maximum win of £500 per spin, with a maximum bet of £100 per spin.
  • No more than four terminals per shop.
  • Warnings as to how much you have bet and how long you have played periodically appearing at certain points in your game.

You also have the option to self-exclude yourself from the shop, or a chain of shops in the area. If you wish to do this, there is nothing to be ashamed of, simply ask any member of staff for a self-exclusion form.

Some of these rules were about to change though with the introduction of a new gambling regulation.

New regulation


From April the 2nd 2015 new gaming regulation comes into place in an attempt to limit excessive betting on the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT’s). The law will prevent bets in excess of £50 from been placed directly on the betting terminals, more commonly known as Roulette Machines or FOTB’s. The idea is to force a break in your gaming action, and to slow the pace of play to limit significant losses in a short space of time.

To place a bet above the £50 threshold, players will need to put the money over the counter, whereby the staff will then credit the Roulette Machine. This will certainly inconvenience the players, and may force a gradual lowering of stake to players who often bet up to £100 a spin.

Where Theres a Will, theres a Loophole


Surprisingly, bookmakers have already found a loophole that will allow FOBT players to bypass the inconvenience of leaving the betting terminal to place £100 bets. Those who have a Coral Connect Card are able to transfer their balance to the terminal without visiting the cash desk.

connectThe Coral Connect Card links all Coral betting options to one single account, so online slots, sport and casino balances can be used on the same card to place bets both over the counter in the shop, and on their betting terminals. Likewise, any betting shop wins can be placed directly onto the Coral Connect Card and used for online play. To learn more about the Coral Connect Card head here.

The Connect Card was a massive undertaking, so I assume other bookies are waiting to see how it plays out before launching their own similar versions that link all gaming activity. Coral continues to iron out several teething problems, with players able to manipulate progressive pots on several of the FOBT games, as well as a few other minor issues.

Doing it Wrong


It is my personal opinion that the best way to limit excessive FOBT gameplay is to limit the speed in which you are able to place a bet. Regulations allow for one spin every 20 seconds, which equates to the potential of betting £300 per minute. A real world casino aims for one spin every 90 seconds, and on a real table there is no repeat bet option, which again slows the pace of play down.

It comes across as the government making feeble attempts to regulate excessive gambling every couple of years, whilst still enjoying the massive tax revenue which these shops generate.

It will be interesting to see how this new regulation will play out, and the ways in which the shops will try to work around it.

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