Wednesday, 31 May 2017

When The Fun Starts - You're Stopped

Jamie commented on my Gaming v Betting post from the Guardian that:
It really is a scary amount of money the FOBT's make for the bookies. Until the internet and the likes of Betfair came along the bookies had it real good without the need for them. The overround for a football match would be about 130% and they didn't take singles. Trebles and upwards was the minimum bet. Now with Betfair and others at about the 106% overround mark for a soccer match they had to rake the profits back in some way.
Unfortunately there is nothing mainstream out there to warn of the dangers of FOBT's and indeed the practices of bookies who stop anyone who may look like they may be long term winners. The likes of ATR & RUK are the only portals large enough to get the message across but they are in bed with the bookies as it is they who sponsor the channels. It would be a conflict of interest to even dare to call them to account.
I moved from England to Ireland 5 years ago and up to now the gaming terminals or roulette machines as they are commonly known are not allowed in the bookies. They have betting terminals that allow bets on other sports other than horse racing but there are no games.
Also they do B.O.G. on all UK/IRE racing which is is on a par with most online companies at least. Also I've also had a few cheeky football bets bets accepted over the counter that were refused in England for "online customers only". But I'm guessing the liabilities in Ireland are much lower than they are in England where the high street bookies certainly run a tighter ship.
Just to finish, I had on my twitter timeline, from a leading high street bookie the following message regarding responsible gambling.
"When the fun stops, it is time to stop." I replied "The fun part of gambling is winning. When we win, YOU stop us". To my great shock and surprise I didn't receive a reply.
Does everyone named James or Jamie emigrate to the Emerald Isle these days? Signora Cassini is now pressuring me to change my name to Jim.

I'm not sure how old Jamie is, but I too can remember the introduction of Fixed Odds football betting with its restrictions of at least trebles - I think it was quintuples if Home wins were included.

FOBT's have no place in High Street betting shops in my opinion. As the Guardian article explained, there's a difference between gaming, where the house edge is fixed and players have no chance of long-term profitability, and betting, where in theory players do have a chance. The bookmaking business should be a contest of skill between bookie and punter, albeit with the odds (literally) tilted in favour of the former.

Another Guardian article noted in March that the GambleAware charity reported of FOBTs that:
Seven sessions saw customers lose more than £10,000 within a few hours, with one gambler losing £13,777.90 – more than half the UK’s national average wage – in a marathon seven-and-a-half-hour sitting.
The Association of British Bookmakers response was to be expected:
As with all forms of gambling there will be winners and losers and the research also shows a customer won over £13,000 in four hours on a gaming machine. In both cases there is no reason to believe that the individuals could not afford their stakes. Losses in other forms of gambling can be significantly higher than the exceptional loss cited here.
"A customer..." Single. Great.

Not mentioned is that with gaming, there will be no long-term winners, and as Jamie pointed out, when it comes to betting, the ABB members will do their best to ensure that long-term winners are identified and stopped as soon as possible.

To put it bluntly, traditional bookies want customers who are stupid, i.e. who don't understand over-rounds or the concept of +EV. 

No comments: