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Frank Hovis

Goodbye betting shops - Fixed odds max stake down from £100 to £2

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This is following the trend of retail shops disappearing; in the debate up to this the industry VIs were saying that these fixed odds machines were what kept the shops going and I can well believe that.

The maximum stake has been slashed from £100 to £2.  There was somebody on the radio saying how he'd lost £2.5k in half an hour.

It may be a bit nanny state but sometimes IMO you do need to save people from themselves.

I doubt the vast majority of people would even consider playing these machines so it's only the real problem gamblers that are on them.  I don't knwo anyone who's mentioned playing them.

I'll miss the presence of the high street bookie as I miss Woolies, but my one Grand National bet every three or four years if I happened to be in town on the Saturday wasn't going to keep them going.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6305317/highest-stake-on-betting-terminals-slashed-to-2-in-win-for-campaigners/

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Gamblers and drug launderers.

Noone else pals these machines.

Who knows, when they ban takeaway coffee cups, the other 50% of the modern high street will shut.

 

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8 minutes ago, dgul said:

The idea that these machines were ever a good idea is bonkers.  I'm very pleased that they've changed the stakes so substantially.

  • The impact on minor crime, like drugs distribution, will be substantial.  It is such a great way to clean a few £k.  I'd be fascinated to see the stats on how many roulette games are even/odd/black/white (ie, no proper gambler plays these options as they're not exciting enough, but for laundering they're perfect -- an average cost of cleaning of 3ish% is a fantastic price).
  • As I understand it, for the problem gambler it is the time on bet that is an important brake on their addiction.  So, even for horse racing you've got to wait for the actual race to take place.  The FOBT are terrible in that regard.  (it is also the reason why lottery scratch cards are worse than the lotto -- actually, the lottery is a 'good' gambling system -- you've got to wait a minimum of hours, if not days -- this delay  breaks the gambling cycle).

There will be only two losers from this -- the gambling companies and the 2-bit criminal.  Everyone else will be better off.

 

And...

3. The taxman

Quote

Chancellor Philip Hammond opposed a £2 stake, fearing he will lose much of the £450m a year taken in Machine Gaming Duty – which is 25 per cent on the total £1.8bn a year blown on FOBTs.

4. The betting companies

And if the shops close:

5. The council for its business rates

6. The private landlord for their rental

 

Or as I see it: win-win-win-win-win-win

 

The only loser being the current employees in these shops, so there is a downside as I know a couple of these (fof rather than directly) and they have been working in these shops for decades, pretty much since leaving school,  and they enjoy it because it is a fairly civilised job which needs some basic maths skills rather than just scanning items at a till.

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27 minutes ago, dgul said:

 

  • The impact on minor crime, like drugs distribution, will be substantial.  It is such a great way to clean a few £k.  I'd be fascinated to see the stats on how many roulette games are even/odd/black/white (ie, no proper gambler plays these options as they're not exciting enough, but for laundering they're perfect -- an average cost of cleaning of 3ish% is a fantastic price).

 

Good point. I had wondered who uses these machines when you can do the same thing online.

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Here in Wales the response to our politicians decree betting shops must reduce the number of FOBT per betting shop....

All the betting companies opened dozens more shops around the same streets.

These won't survive.

Big tears ahead for Council Tax payers!

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36 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

And...

3. The taxman

4. The betting companies

And if the shops close:

5. The council for its business rates

6. The private landlord for their rental

 

Or as I see it: win-win-win-win-win-win

 

The only loser being the current employees in these shops, so there is a downside as I know a couple of these (fof rather than directly) and they have been working in these shops for decades, pretty much since leaving school,  and they enjoy it because it is a fairly civilised job which needs some basic maths skills rather than just scanning items at a till.

Surely a bit too black and white. Their removal costs the taxman £450M but wider society benefits to many multiples of that in reduced crime. These gambling shops are hotbeds for the dregs of society.

I read somewhere that IIRC ~70% of all fraud cases are committed by gambling addicts.

 

*I have to confess I don't understand gambling at all, tried it a handful of times and just thought it was utter, utter shit even when I did win a few bob back. If it was up to me, I'd ban all forms of it.

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2 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

Surely a bit too black and white. Their removal costs the taxman £450M but wider society benefits to many multiples of that in reduced crime. These gambling shops are hotbeds for the dregs of society.

Yes but pikeys (and the like) won't stop thieving just because they're denied one of their simpler laundering methods.

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Just now, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

Yes but pikeys (and the like) won't stop thieving just because they're denied one of their simpler laundering methods.

Hopefully they'll gamble in the comfort of their own shower-free caravans and keep away from the High Street. That's worth £450M alone.

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30 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

And...

3. The taxman

  Quote

Chancellor Philip Hammond opposed a £2 stake, fearing he will lose much of the £450m a year taken in Machine Gaming Duty – which is 25 per cent on the total £1.8bn a year blown on FOBTs.

That's not right.  It massively understates the problem.  It is 25% of profits.  So, the gambling companies are making £2bln in profit, or about 0.1% of UK GDP.  That's bonkers for a start.  And, assuming that the house makes 3% (about right on Roulette), that's 3% of UK GDP going through the FOBT at some point.  That's insane.

33 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

And...

3. The taxman

4. The betting companies

 And if the shops close:

5. The council for its business rates

6. The private landlord for their rental

 

Or as I see it: win-win-win-win-win-win

 

The only loser being the current employees in these shops, so there is a downside as I know a couple of these (fof rather than directly) and they have been working in these shops for decades, pretty much since leaving school,  and they enjoy it because it is a fairly civilised job which needs some basic maths skills rather than just scanning items at a till.

No.  Because that assumes a 'not-spent' paradigm.  All money is spent.  If it isn't being spent on FOBT it'll be spent on food, or fags, or pub meals -- or betting.

(or, actually more likely, giving more money to a local laundry (20% is normal, so I understand), who will then spend it on TVs and Reeboks, etc).

But the council will still get rates from shops that sell stuff that they wouldn't have sold, the landlords (overall) will keep on getting money, etc.  I'd even imagine that the 'problem gambler' will just go back to betting on the horses, so the betting companies won't lose much money.

In the end, the only effect will be that small-scale money laundering profits will go from the betting companies to some local local guy with a pit-bull and an attitude, who'll then spend it on a 2 year old BMW and a holiday in Torremolinos.

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6 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

Surely a bit too black and white. Their removal costs the taxman £450M but wider society benefits to many multiples of that in reduced crime. These gambling shops are hotbeds for the dregs of society.

I read somewhere that IIRC ~70% of all fraud cases are committed by gambling addicts.

 

*I have to confess I don't understand gambling at all, tried it a handful of times and just thought it was utter, utter shit even when I did win a few bob back. If it was up to me, I'd ban all forms of it.

I don't get the impression that many on here are gamblers.

Gamblers are heart / emotional people whereas we're mainly head / dispassionate.

I buy a lottery ticket when the prize rolls over to £10m or more not because I have a real chance of winning, though it would be nice and I did actually win £150 last year, but because it is only £2 and I don't mind losing that.  I am happy to "lose", i.e. give away with no gain, more than that in charity collections and leaving cards etc.

I wouldn't however (as I have heard of occasionally) cash in all of my investments and take them to Las Vegas to bet on black or red because I would regard the potential gain of doubling my money as being massively outweighed by the potential loss of losing it all.

So whilst the odds would be 50:50 I would see that on one side as very nice and the other as unmitigated disaster.  A gambler would just look at the potential upside and place their bet.

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2 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I don't get the impression that many on here are gamblers.

Gamblers are heart / emotional people whereas we're mainly head / dispassionate.

I buy a lottery ticket when the prize rolls over to £10m or more not because I have a real chance of winning, though it would be nice and I did actually win £150 last year, but because it is only £2 and I don't mind losing that.  I am happy to "lose", i.e. give away with no gain, more than that in charity collections and leaving cards etc.

I wouldn't however (as I have heard of occasionally) cash in all of my investments and take them to Las Vegas to bet on black or red because I would regard the potential gain of doubling my money as being massively outweighed by the potential loss of losing it all.

So whilst the odds would be 50:50 I would see that on one side as very nice and the other as unmitigated disaster.  A gambler would just look at the potential upside and place their bet.

There are bad gamblers and good, Frank. here you are talking about the bad (for them) ones.

I'm pretty sure I could do it professionally if I only had myself to support.

 

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3 minutes ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

There are bad gamblers and good, Frank. here you are talking about the bad (for them) ones.

I'm pretty sure I could do it professionally if I only had myself to support.

 

The only people I've known to consistently win are the arbitrage ones who stake big sums for small margins and lay them off at other bookies.

This to means seems like hard work whose returns I could better by putting the same effort into share dealing.

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Just now, Frank Hovis said:

The only people I've known to consistently win are the arbitrage ones who stake big sums for small margins and lay them off at other bookies.

This to means seems like hard work whose returns I could better by putting the same effort into share dealing.

Yeah it's hard work and you'd spend your days surrounded by a bank of screens with live feeds and all sorts, using other people's identities as the bookies try to freeze out all winners, except the exchanges, I wouldn't advocate it as a career! 

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Economies becoming increasingly unbalanced and in decline sometimes become more reliant on gambling to fuel the economy and for economic growth typically with more casinos etc.  Just like Britain  - so this development is maybe a good sign. 

I wouldn't like to bet on it though.

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The money is not being removed from the economy.

Loss of jobs in gambling businesses does not mean loss of jobs as a whole.

The gamblers, hopefully, will spend the money on something more necessary, creating jobs in more worthwhile sectors.

So good riddance to these machines.

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22 minutes ago, twocents said:

Economies becoming increasingly unbalanced and in decline sometimes become more reliant on gambling to fuel the economy and for economic growth typically with more casinos etc.  Just like Britain  - so this development is maybe a good sign. 

I wouldn't like to bet on it though.

Nah they just don't want any money laundering going on outside the Square Mile.

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23 minutes ago, twocents said:

Economies becoming increasingly unbalanced and in decline sometimes become more reliant on gambling to fuel the economy and for economic growth typically with more casinos etc.  Just like Britain  - so this development is maybe a good sign. 

I wouldn't like to bet on it though.

But stopping the gambling doesn't stop the imbalance and decline -- is it a symptom, not a driving mechanism.

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26 minutes ago, twocents said:

Economies becoming increasingly unbalanced and in decline sometimes become more reliant on gambling to fuel the economy and for economic growth typically with more casinos etc.  Just like Britain  - so this development is maybe a good sign. 

I wouldn't like to bet on it though.

How do you get economic growth from what is basically money recycling? Nothing of value is being created

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1 minute ago, gibbon said:

How do you get economic growth from what is basically money recycling? Nothing of value is being created

Which doesn't seem to matter.

The drive is constant circulation of money so that it can be taxed by the government and skimmed by the bank.  If two single mothers (I'm not having a go btw, just an example!) lived in next door flats and they each set up as a childminder and swapped children for four hours a day then no additional work is done.

Yet suddenly you have a whole series of transactions swinging into action.  They bill each other, some of that gets picked up by free government childcare and the rest the one gives to the other in cash who gives it straight back.  They pay NI, maybe a small pension, and then take up tax credits to legitimately supplement their low wages.

All very very silly but also all very very encouraged because we now have two more employed people and the headline GDP has grown by two new salaries.

To translate it to the real world have three working down the nail bar and three working as nursery nurses; all for sixteen hours a week.  Then you have a vast amount of GDP created from having a few nails painted.

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Posted (edited)

Realistically I think stake reduction is just tinkering to reduce the worst aspects on some people's lives and cut down on small time laundering.  They don't like the competition.  What will replace the closed down shops - maybe some more coffee shops, mini markets and takeaways?

In some places maybe some full scale casinos for the well heeled. 

The economy is too far gone now to be easily repaired.

Edited by twocents

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8 minutes ago, twocents said:

Realistically I think stake reduction is just tinkering to reduce the worst aspects on some people's lives and cut down on small time laundering.  They don't like the competition.  What will replace the closed down shops - maybe some more coffee shops, mini markets and takeaways?

In some places maybe some full scale casinos for the well heeled. 

The economy is too far gone now to be easily repaired.

In the towns I know the shops are both reduicng and clustering, as in there used to be a centre and then some local pockets of shops but those local pockets are mostly reducing to a Spar and a takeaway with the others laying empty and the shops that were there and had viable businesses relocating into the empty shops in the main town centre or in some cases to out of town industrial estates depending upon the product.

I know one town where the shopping centre is a very long continuous run across several streets and it is contracting from one end with the charity shops coming in and others laying empty so it's fairly obvious there that it's shrinking.  Less so when the shops are in a grid layout.

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7 hours ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

Yeah it's hard work and you'd spend your days surrounded by a bank of screens with live feeds and all sorts, using other people's identities as the bookies try to freeze out all winners, except the exchanges, I wouldn't advocate it as a career! 

Online arbing is a waste of time in my experience. Arbing in shops on the other hand...:)

So I'm not keen on the idea of bookie shops closing for purely selfish reasons. I'm not sure that it'll help problem gamblers much either, as I reckon most gamble until they run out of money, how long that actually takes is probably not much of a consideration. I guess it will make money laundering a much slower process, though two quid every 20 seconds is 6 quid a minute / 360 quid an hour, so still fairly worthwhile for a 3% fee.

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