PADDY Power and Betfred have pulled new roulette games from shops where you could bet up to £500 a go.
The news comes after the bookmakers were accused of trying to cheat new regulations that cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) – electric machines with the likes of roulette, blackjack, and bingo – from £100 to £2.
Alamy Paddy Power and Betfred have pulled new games from shops
The rules are designed to minimise the risk of people losing large amounts of cash in a short space of time.
The existence of the new games, which were launched on Monday and the same day the new restrictions came into place, prompted the industry regulator the Gambling Commission to say it was investigating the matter, reports The Guardian.
The sports minister, Mims Davies, said the government was “watching very closely” to see if bookmakers were bending the rules, while the Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson, accused firms of trying to reintroduce FOBTs “by the back door”.
Both Paddy Power and Betfred have removed the roulette-style games – called Pick “n” 36 and Virtual Cycling – due to the attention from MPs and the regulator, according to the newspaper.
GET HELP TO CONTROL YOUR GAMBLINGGAMBLING addiction can be harmful to your psychological and physical health. Here’s how to get help:
What is “self exclusion”? If you think you are spending too much time or money gambling in an arcade, betting shop, bingo venue or casino then ask staff for more information about self-exclusion schemes. Read more on how to self exclude.
Consider calling the National Gambling Helpline who can offer you free, confidential advice and counselling. According to charity BeGambleAware, self-exclusion can be helpful but will be more effective if you also give the helpline a call first.
If you’re concerned about keeping your gambling under control, sticking to some simple rules. Setting a money or time limit can help make the hard decisions for you when the time comes to walk away.
Only gamble what you can afford to lose – gamble within your weekly entertainment budget, not with your phone bill or rent money.
The Virtual Cycling game by Betfred allows gamblers to place bets on when a cyclist travelling around a track will be overtaken by competitors.
The bets are placed over the counter, and the graphic is said to be similar to a roulette table.
The game features a maximum stake of £500, five times what was possible on the FOBT games that are now banned.
Paddy Power’s game Pick “n” 36 features a maximum stake of £100.
Like Betfred’s Virtual Cycling game, players bet on numbers between one and 36.
William Hill has been considering launching a similar game but is yet to do so, according to The Guardian.
A spokesman for Betfred told The Sun: “We’ve taken down Virtual Cycling to allow further discussion with the Gambling Commission.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Paddy Power said: “We offer our retail customers a range of number-based betting products and this game was introduced as part of a short trial in a selection of shops.
“This trial concluded earlier today and we will now assess the customer response and feedback before deciding whether to launch it more widely.”
Both firms added that these games are different to FOBTs and other machine games, as customers place their bets over the counter, for example.
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In November last year, an ex-gambling addict who racked up £500k on “crack cocaine” urged Theresa May to slash stakes to £2 a spin.
Around the same time, a study showed that over 55,000 young Brits were hooked on gambling.
Yesterday, Ladbrokes said it’ll close 1,000 shops this year in a move that could put up to 5,000 jobs at risk.
Football legend Paul Merson reveals he would wake in the middle of the night to bet on under 20 Lithuanian basketball matches at height of gambling addiction
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