The choice of which gambling option to favor is influenced by many factors. One of the main factors however is that of the payout ratio of your chosen gambling format. Scratchcards are so popular exactly for this reason. Whether the classic scratch-off or the online scratch card option, your chance to play and win is one of the highest in the industry. It therefore comes as no surprise that scratch games are one of the more prevalent gambling choices in many areas in the UK and indeed the world. While scratch cards enjoy a solid reputation for providing harmless and affordable gambling options, other high-paying gambling offerings like the Fixed Odds Betting Terminal (FOBTs) are causing a public debate regarding their social effects on the community.

While the UK economy is experiencing difficult times, this is not the case for some major UK gambling companies. British bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes have just released their earnings for the first half of 2012. One of the most popular choice for many UK gamblers is the controversial Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). According to data released by these companies, Brits spent over £12 billion just on these FOBTs in the first half of this year.

Ladbrokes reported £5.9 billion over their 2,137 outlets countrywide and in William Hill over £6.6 billion was wagered over their 2.371 betting shops for the same period.

As we all know FOTBs were introduced in 2001 to betting shops under the then Labour Government. This was made possible after the then Chancellor Gordon Brown made it worthwhile for betting shops to do so as he abolished the heavy duties on individual bets and replaced it with a general tax on the bookmakers’ overall gross profits. This has since lead to the rising popularity of these machines.

FOTBs are described by many as mobile casinos. They generally take the form of virtual roulette or slot machines. What makes them so popular with many is the fact that they offer much higher chances of winning than other popular types of gambling. According to statistics out of every £1 wagered on FOTBs a whopping 92p is given back to players as winnings. With virtual roulette this is even higher at 97.3%. Other over-the counter betting is reported only to have a 85% payout.

Ladbrokes and William Hill are reported to have about 17,000 FOTBs machines between them which is over half of the entire estimated 32,000 machines across the UK. It is no surprise that they do are not happy about concerns being raised by anti-gambling groups. It is essential to mention that William Hill only took in £1.3 billion in wagers in their over-the counter bets on sports for the first half of the 2012. LadBrokes also only took in £1.2 billion in wagers. This as we said is in high contrast to the £6.6 and £5.9 billion wagered respectively on their FOBTs.

FOBTs are seen as one of the main reasons why many betting companies have succeeded in weathering the trying economic situation in the UK. Recent voices like Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman have criticized the previous Labor’s decision to have permitted bringing in high-stakes gambling machines into British Bookmakers. She believes that these could be having dire consequences in some of the poorest communities where people spend money they do not have.

LadBrokes issued a statement saying,”FOBTs are popular products because they offer high payouts to customers, and there is no evidence to suggest that they are addictive.”

We will continue to follow the controversial debate regarding the eve popular FOBTs. Whether you are pro or anti these machines, one cannot deny the fact that no matter what the economic climate is, people are always going to want to improve their fortunes with having a flutter. Providing people with game formats that have a high payout ratio is always going to attract the thinking gambler.

As dedicated scratch cards followers at it is interesting to see that the timeless scratch-off format continues to weather the tough global economic storm and continue to provide a responsible and cheap method to engage in high-paying gambling that enjoys widespread support from all sectors.