How Do FOBTs Work?

  • Updated
  • By Tracy Doyle
FOBT work

Each FOBT will have a Percentage Return to Player (RTP), this is the amount of money that will be returned to players on average, but is not guaranteed. Typically FOBTs have a RTP of 90% to 94%, this means that 90% to 94% of money gambled will theoretically be returned to the player.

For example, if a FOBT has a RTP of 90% it is expected that for every pound a player spends they’ll get 90 pence back over time. How much time it takes for that 90% to be returned to the player is down to probability, a player could win instantly or could be playing at a loss for a long period of time.

Do all FOBTs work the same?

Typically, the FOBTs in one betting shop chain will be very similar if not the same in every branch throughout the UK. Changes to styling, design and available games will likely change from one betting chain to another, but what remains the same is the level of games available depending on the category the FOBT fits into.

FOBTs are categorised in the following way:

  • Category B2 - Available at racing tracks with pool betting, UK casinos and betting shops. Have a maximum stake of £100 (reducing to £2 in 2019) and a maximum payout of £500.

  • Category B3 - These also have a maximum payout of £500 but a maximum stake of just £2. You’ll find them in bingo halls, adult game centres, casinos, bookmakers and racing tracks that offer pool betting.

  • Category C - Allowed in betting shops but not as popular or common as their maximum stake is £1. More usually found in adult game centres, pubs and members clubs.

 How are online slots different from FOBTs?

It may be easy to think that online slots are the same as FOBTs. There are, however, some very big differences. One of the biggest differences between online slots and FOBTs is the RTP.

Online slots often return somewhere between 96% to 98% as opposed to the 90% to 94% of FOBTs, meaning that the average amount returned to players from online slots is 6% to 8% higher than FOBTs.

Online slots also offer more flexibility with minimum stakes, many starting at 1p instead of the minimum £1 stake for many FOBTs.

Similarly, the payouts from online slots are not limited to £500 as they are with FOBTs, online slots can have progressive jackpots that can reach millions of pounds.  

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