Joint Committee on the Draft Gambling Bill Minutes of Evidence




  This Code is a response to Government policy on control and usage of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in Licensed Betting Offices. It is intended to operate in conjunction with the Good Practice and Social Responsibility Code for Betting Offices recently agreed by ABB and GamCare, the charity that assists problem gamblers.

  ABB and its members wish to help create an environment in which the public enjoy fair and responsible gambling. Accordingly, ABB membership will, from 19 November 2003 be open only to bookmakers who accept and operate according to the conditions laid out in Section One of this Code and who obtain their FOBTs from approved manufacturers/suppliers.

  Section Two comprises a method of ensuring that manufacturers/suppliers of FOBTs and the products they offer also adhere to socially responsible procedures.

  By requiring licensed betting offices to comply with the conditions outlined in Section One and by establishing a standard for operators and manufacturers/suppliers, this Code will seek to ensure that access to the market is available only to those who are prepared to be socially responsible.

  To ensure adherence to this Code, ABB will appoint a Compliance Committee, which will have responsibility for policing the Code and for approving manufacturers/suppliers.

  The Compliance Committee will have at least four members; to include a lawyer, an independent technical expert, a representative of an organisation that assists problem gamblers, and a member of the ABB executive. Other members may be appointed as appropriate.

  This Code will be reviewed on an annual basis and, where necessary, will be amended to ensure its continued effectiveness.


2.1  Terminal Operation

    —  A maximum of four machines (FOBTs or a mix of FOBTs and AWPs) per LBO. This number not to include the type of terminal used to accept traditional "over the counter bets".

    —  A maximum payout per single transaction of £500.

    —  A maximum stake of £15 per bet and £100 per transaction.

    —  To prevent potential problem gamblers from "chasing losses", the minimum cycle time between customers inputting money, selecting their bet(s) and settlement shall be not less than 30 seconds. When customers are betting from their original stake or from accumulated winnings, the minimum cycle time for this type of transaction will be not less than 20 seconds.

    —  No cash payouts directly from terminals. All payouts to be made at the counter.

    —  No credit, debit or smart card transactions to be accepted on terminals.

    —  Odds for each betting event to be clearly displayed on all terminals.

    —  An on-screen balance meter allowing customers to track winnings/losses per session.

    —  The ability for customers to "cash-in" at any time following the completion of each betting event and to set a limit on the time they play and on the amount they wish to spend per session.

    —  Point of sale promotional material not to encourage excessive play.

    —  All random number events to be organised independently of the bookmaker.

    —  Random number communication to be independently audited by a third party.

  ABB members to obtain FOBT/FOBT products only from manufacturers and suppliers approved by the ABB Compliance Committee.

2.2  Terminal content

  All FOBT content must comply with the following:

    —  Clear help pages to be present on all terminals, including contact information for GamCare and warnings on excessive gambling. Access to help pages to be available at all times by use of button/icon.

    —  GamCare signage and leaflets provided by the ABB Compliance Committee to be prominently displayed adjacent to terminals.

    —  Representations of casino games other than roulette or numbers games are not permitted. A casino game is defined as any game which is authorised under the Gaming Clubs (Bankers' Games) regulations or is any derivative of such a game or is promoted in such a way as the players may believe they are participating in such a game.

    —  The following bet process must be adhered to:

    —  Customers must make a positive selection.

    —  Customers must choose a stake.

    —  Odds must be clearly visible at time of selection.

    —  Customer to select "start" or "bet" button/icon.

    —  Result to be announced/displayed on terminals.


    —  FOBT manufacturers/suppliers wishing to supply LBOs must register with and be approved by the ABB Compliance Committee (under the terms of Section One of this Code ABB members will not be supplied by non-approved companies).

    —  To be authorised to supply LBOs, companies must state in writing that they accept and are prepared to fully comply with the ABB Code.

    —  In addition, manufacturers/suppliers must undertake to:

—  Comply with all regulatory requirements relating to the use of FOBTs.

—  Display prominently on help files any notices that may be required by ABB.

—  Operate in a manner that will not bring the betting industry or the ABB into disrepute.

—  Maintain strict security controls over all FOBT hardware and software.

—  Ensure that number generation is entirely random and that no third party access (including by bookmakers) is possible.

—  Ensure that all customers (betting office operators) are adequately trained in the operation, maintenance and control of machines as appropriate.

—  Establish that all employees of suppliers/manufacturers are familiar with this Code and with the betting industry's commitment to fair and responsible trading.

—  Supply FOBTs and/or similar products only to bona-fide licensed bookmakers, according to the criteria outlined in this Code.

—  Ensure that all betting events offered on FOBTs comply with this Code and have been approved by ABB as suitable for this purpose.

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2004
Prepared 7 April 2004