The Gambling Commission have remarkably admitted that the labelling on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT’s) “can be misunderstood” by some players.
Communications from a licensing officer also revealed that they are in consultation with both the industry and organisations that support those with gambling problems to see how labelling could be made clearer.
I shoddily painted over GamCare’s logo, as they’re funny about that sort of thing.
Currently on FOBT’s, there is a mathematical Return To Player (RTP) figure shown as 97.3% on roulette, which this suggests that the player has a near 100% chance of winning. However, the 97.3% is calculated as an average return from 35,000 machines, and it is highly unlikely that any single play will win at that rate.
In roulette there are 37 possible results and the maximum winning return is 35-1. Therefore if you bet on each number at a cost of £37 you would recover only £35, a return of 97.3% of your stake. However, there are now calls to display a figure which is the percentage of a single machine, rather than the average takings.
It is thought that although the FOBT’s have ‘fixed odds’ returns displayed on every game, that this figure does not take into consideration the money transferred from one game to another, or indeed one machine to another. If it did, it would make the return to the player much, much lower than the industry suggests. Although they are unlikely to admit that you are much less likely to win than what is displayed on the machine.
If this is correct, the return to the gamblers would be approximately 88%, rather than 97%. This confusion could be addressed relatively easily.
The Commission, who were set up under the 2005 Gambling Act to regulate commercial gambling, and are funded by the organisations they license, stated, “These consultations are ongoing as it is important that any changes to the labelling improves the clarity and are not simply change for changes sake.”
The 2005 Gambling Act states that gambling must be “fair and open”, therefore the fact that only now are the Gambling Commission looking into the labelling on FOBT’s begs the question, have machine players been deceived for 8 years? A change to a more realistic figure would certainly suggest so.