UK Bookmakers were all shook up when the government decided to reduce the stake limit in fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). The government decided in 2018 that it would roll out a massive cut in betting stakes reducing it from £100 per max bet to £2 per max bet.
The decision caused a huge uproar with the UK gambling industry as FOBT machines accounted for close to 50 percent of gaming revenue. While the UK gambling industry cried foul, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) justified the move as problem gambling stats have skyrocketed in the UK in recent times and FOBT betting was one of the main causes.
The reduction in FOBT stakes came into play from the start of April and was expected to cause a major change in the gambling industry.
UK Bookmakers Look To Cheat The System
UK bookmakers were set to lose millions of dollars once the FOBT restrictions came into play from April. However, it appears that a number of UK bookmakers have alternative ways of beating the system or as anti-gambling opponents would like to call it ‘cheat the system’.
Bookmakers like Betfred have come out with innovative games that are potentially even worse than FOBTs as the stakes allowed in their latest game is a lot higher than the £100 max bet. Betfred isn’t the only bookmaker to have an innovative game in the pipeline as Paddy Power also has a similar game that cheats the system. William Hill is also in the process of developing a similar game although no date has been confirmed as to when this new game will hit the market.
Betfred’s “Virtual Cycling”
In order to find out how these bookmakers are trying to beat the system, we can take look at Betfred’s latest offering calling Virtual Cycling. To play this game, players will have to go to a Betfred shop and put in a request.
They will then be handed a piece of paper which has the image of a roulette table on it. The game is about virtual cycling where animated cyclists will compete against each other and go around a cycling ring which has numbers from 1 to 36 on it. Players will have to pick one cyclist and bet on a number which they think will be the number in which their cyclist will pass the rest of the field. If they pick the right number, the end up winning and if they pick the wrong number, they end up losing.
It is hard to see how this game is different from FOBTs but Betfred is more than willing to point out the difference. A company spokesperson said that the main problem the UKGC had with FOBTs was that there was no supervision and players could keep betting as much as they wanted.
Since Virtual Cycling forced players to interact with Betfred staff, it eliminated the concern that the UKGC had. However, what makes Virtual Cycling more dangerous than the regular FOBT is that this game allows bettors to make bets up to £500 per bet.
Pick N 36 From Paddy Power
Paddy Power has a similar game called ‘Pick N 36’ which also uses a board with numbers from 1 to 36 that have a random selection. The only difference is that the max bet is fixed at £100 per bet. However the way the game is being advertised makes it appear that the final result is not based on chance and is misleading.
William Hill is working on a game called Wonderball which also looks to beat the system. Anti-gambling campaigners are extremely upset that UK bookmakers have cheated the system and showed no social regard to addressing the concerns of problem gambling.
UKGC Responds To Concerns
The UKGC released a statement to confirm that it was aware of these new games that looked to beat the system and confirmed that it will look into the matter and take the required steps to address all concerns. The gambling watchdog confirmed that it had sent out a letter last week to gambling operators reminding them of their social responsibilities and confirmed that they will step in should they find UK operators violating any regulations.

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