Betting Terminals boost Ladbrokes
By paul
A measure of how popular Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) are in British high street bookies can be seen in UK betting giant Ladbrokes half year results, with almost a third of the £102 million profits coming from the company’s 3,500 FOBTs.

Such was the impact of the FOBTs, it lifted the results of Ladbrokes parent company the Hilton Group, where turnover was up 55 per cent.

Hilton Group chief executive David Michels said: “I believe that Ladbrokes will maintain steady growth in the underlying businesses but overall results will of course be influenced by any controls, which may be placed on fixed odds betting terminals.”

Michaels was speaking of a legal challenge to FOBTs from the UK Gaming Board, adding that he would “strenuously defend” the legality of FOBTs, which hinges on whether or not the terminals constitute fixed odds betting.

Michaels said: “We believe we have a strong case that roulette is indeed fixed odds betting and permissible.” The group said that the joint judicial case between the betting sector and the Gaming Board is expected to be concluded in the first quarter of 2004.

Board secretary Tom Kavanagh confirmed the dates to gaming magazine Coinslot, adding that the Gaming Board is confident of its position.

The UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport supports the Gaming Board’s action. A DCMS spokesperson said: “We see them as a dangerous form of gambling where people are staking large amounts of money on the high street.”

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