With online gambling increasing in popularity traditional high-street bookies like William Hill and Ladbrokes are coming under increasing pressure. We reported in October 2012 on the effect of fixed-odds betting terminals on poorer areas. Gambling critics accuse the major bookmakers of causing addiction problems with these high end gaming machines that allow bets of £100 a time.

Gambling critics are looking to restrict the number of FOBT’s allowed in each store as well as to reduce the betting stakes allowed. On Tuesday Sports Minister Hugh Robertson responded to the ongoing criticism of these popular FOBT’s,

“The Government’s response balances the need to acknowledge gambling’s contribution to the economy with an explicit recognition of the need to protect players, particularly at the higher-end stakes. We recognize the current concerns about the impact of such machines, are undertaking an evidence-based review and will take action if necessary.”

In response to a parliamentary committee report the government for now has rejected the recommendation to do away with a restriction on the number of machines allowed, and it will remain at a maximum of four.

While the U.K. government does its research the bookies get around the four limit limitation per shop by opening clusters of betting shops close to each other.

It remains to be seen how the FOBT’s will be able to compete with the convenience and ease of online gambling. In addition there is also the option of mobile casino’s which is attracting a growing audience of gamblers who realize the potential of walking around with a “portable punt”.