Monday 16 December 2013

Money-laundering Convenience on the High Street?

NAMs that may have noticed an increase in the numbers of High Street betting shops - those who have not, are probably working in the wrong areas - cannot miss the Fixed-Odds-Betting-Machines (FOBTs), often four per shop.

FOBTs can  be used for money laundering by paying cash into the terminal, making low-risk bets which involve a small relative loss, and withdrawing most of the proceeds as a voucher which are exchanged for cash at the shop counter.

Academically interested in how it works?
The most popular game is Roulette, which as you know pays out even money on Red and Black, and usually 35+ to 1 on the ‘Zero’ on the wheel.

NB. Thanks to Anonymous below, I have now made enquiries via 'trusted trade sources' and find that there is a £100 betting limit per game, so the amended illustration works out as follows:

A punter places £47.50 on Red, £47.50 on Black and £5 on Zero. A win on Red or Black pays £47.50 plus the original stake, and the £5 on Zero is lost.

The punter cashes in and walks out with £95, freshly laundered…  In other words, for a small charge i.e. the lost bets, most of the money is ‘cleansed’...

An FOBT allows players to bet on the outcome of various games and events with fixed odds, mainly roulette. The minimum amount wagered per spin is £1. The maximum bet cannot exceed a payout of £500 (i.e. putting £14.00 on a single number on roulette). The largest single payout cannot exceed £500.

The terminals arrived in Britain in 2001 and were lightly regulated from the outset. Punters in bookmakers found that they could bet £100 every 20 seconds on roulette. The temptation of high-speed, high-stake casino games in the high street proved irresistible: there are now 33,345 FOBTs in the UK.

Like all casino games, the "house" (i.e. the casino) has a built-in advantage, with current margins on roulette games being theoretically between 2.7% and 5%.

So it can be said there are still signs of life, and death, on the High Street… 


Anonymous said...

Should say you would walk out with £100. The total bet was £102.

Brian Moore said...

Many thanks Anonymous
I have now amended the illustration
Happy Christmas