According to GamblingKingz.com, the two sports betting operators recently released the figures of money that was wagered on their Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in the first half of 2012. For William Hill, bettors wagered £6.6 billion on the FOBTs located in the company’s 2,371 betting shops. Likewise, Ladbrokes also reported a staggering amount of money wagered on FOBTs – £5.9 billion – located in their 2,137 betting shops.
Compare that to over-the-counter wagers made in the same time last year for both William Hill and Ladbrokes – £1.2 billion – you can begin to understand why these two operators are going gaga over these FOBTs.
Taken together, William Hill and Ladbrokes account for over 17,000 betting machines in the entire United Kingdom, a number that represents over half of the total 32,000 machines in the entire country. With the huge action coming from FOBTs, there’s a growing buzz that by the end of the year, the two sports books could potentially see a total of £25 billion worth of wagers. That’s 25 with nine 0’s after it.
FOBTs have become increasingly popular among bettors, particularly because they provide a better chance of winning than most other types of gambling. Whereas over-the-counter betting usually equates to an average payout of 85%, FOBTs typically dole out 95% winnings. The variation of FOBTs have also become a boon for sports books like William Hill and Ladbrokes, particularly the slot FOBTs that provides fast wagering – you can spin it every three seconds – and significant potential winnings – there’s a maximum payout of £500 per bet.
With FOBTs proving to be a hit for a lot of bettors, there’s no question that sports book operators like William Hill and Ladbrokes won’t mind having more of these bad boys at their betting shops. Unfortunately though, gambling laws only limit each shop to have four FOBTs. But according to recommendations made by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, there could be a push to have this number increased in the future.
In a response to criticism being thrown on calls for increasing FOBTs in betting shops, a spokesperson for the Association of British Bookmakers said that “there is no evidence of a causal link between electronic gaming machines and problem gambling.”