What's all the fuss about? It probably sounds a heartless question when so many gamblers become addicted to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT).
To those who venture into their local bookmakers, it's a machine you can play a multitude of games and bet big money on the spin of a roulette table if you so wish. That's a computer-generated roulette wheel of course.
Well, there has been much outcry about these machines because punters could bet £200 a spin or some crazy number I can't quite remember. Such was the protestations that the government stepped in and decided that it would be wise if each spin was reduced to just £2.
In theory, all this sounds like a great idea. However, the problem isn't really the machine it's the person playing. I'm not saying any form of addiction is easy to cope with because it can't be. I've never been addicted to gambling although I'm sure there are plenty of people who imagine I am the biggest ''addy'' on the street. Far from it. In actual fact, I make my living from gambling via websites and betting.
I feel that each gambler needs to show a level of responsibility as do the bookmakers or layers who take their bets. We've all seen the adverts: ''When the fun stops...STOP''. They are almost amusing in the way they try to pretend they want punters to bet less (or more responsible) when in truth they are foaming at the mouth with glee if they lose every penny.
It's a problem for some.
However, all this talk of FOBT is surely a smokescreen for a bigger picture. It is like sticking a plaster over a gaping wound that needs stitches or a staple gun. A syringe is full of adrenalin mixed with ketamine that will soothe the pain. What about the bookmakers who have casinos online or via phone app? There is no restriction. In fact, I am pretty sure you could go for £10,000 a spin if you so wish. Who is saying sod all about the sensibility of those actions?
I can't help feel the lowering of the FOBT in betting shops is just a smokescreen attempting to negate the use online or in casinos across the country. Betting shops are a relic of an old bookmaking system. They are something that will vanish within the next decade or two. It's a sure thing! Why do bookmakers want to pay for colossal overheads when an app on a phone is the equivalent of walking into a betting shop while you are at home, on the bus, or sitting on a deckchair on the beach?
Fixed Odds Betting Terminals are the sacrificial lamb to a monstrosity of a beast.
If you need professional help due to a gambling problem then find the strength to do so. If you can't do that, then take a good look in the mirror because the answer lies within.
Jason Coote is the founder of many betting websites and a known gambler in Great Britain.