The bookmakers who operate fixed odds betting terminals (FOTBs) are under new pressure with stricter laws aimed at protecting poor people who may not be able to afford losing money and problem (compulsive) gamblers. The UK government has been hammered by concerned groups who feel the bookmakers are taking advantage of people causing many social problems in poor neighborhoods.
The call to action is referred to as the voluntary code which went into affect of March 1. The code calls for the owners of the FOTBs to begin monitoring players and trying to find people who might be problem gamblers. Culture Secretary Maria Miller is on a mission to try and make these voluntary steps mandatory by law.
Currently, the bookmakers have agreed to try and discourage gamblers from playing too long or spending too much money in one sitting. The machines are being programmed with a warning the flashes when the patron exceeds L250 pounds or 30 minutes in one sitting at the machine.
Secretary Miller is still looking for stiffer measures designed to protect the public while allowing the gambling venues an opportunity to be successful. She wants to begin by having strict time limits placed on gamblers as a prerequisite to issuing a license to operate a gambling enterprise. She also targeting advertising related to gambling. She has ordered the Advertising Standards Authority to look at gambling advertisers and the regulations they currently operate under.
As for the bookmakers, they are showing positive signs of cooperation. The last thing they want is to motivate the government to pass even harsher laws that would effectively strangle their bottom line or force them out of business. The Association of British Bookmakers has been accepting of the new government standards.