Roulette Machine Tips

Following on from the article detailing various legal and non-legal ways of winning on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, I have compiled a description of the best ways to play the roulette machines. Feel free to add your own FOBT playing styles or comments at the bottom of the page.

What is a FOBT?

roulette fobtA FOBT is a betting terminal found in British bookmakers. The abbreviation FOBT is short for Fixed Odds Betting Terminal and may also be known as a Roulette Terminal, Betting Terminal or Gaming Machine.

Fixed Odds relates to the value of the odds returned to the player, whereby they are fixed at certain amounts. Roulette for example has paying odds of 36/1, these odds will not change, and therefore they are ‘fixed’, unlike horse racing for example whose odds fluctuate depending on multiple factors.

FOBT’s started life in British bookies as simple roulette machines, but have since grown to host multiple games from roulette to slots to blackjack. The majority of FOBT games have equivalent counterparts online, so gaming can continue away from the shops.

Are Roulette Machine Games Random?

Although the roulette machines in Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred and William Hill are random, the way they have been designed encourages a type of play that wouldn’t be possible in a real casino, and so often brings in to question their true randomness. The rapid betting, along with the dramatic increases in chip value are not possible on real roulette tables. You are also far more likely to spread your bets in a way that again you would be unlikely to do in a real casino. And then of course you have the ‘repeat bet’ button which often gives an unfounded sense that your bet is ‘due’.

The repeat bet, combined with the way the chip values increase results in a rapid turn-around of your money that you wouldn’t be seeing if you held real casino chips in your hand. So to answer the question, are roulette machines random? The answer is yes, by law they have to be, it also wouldn’t make sense to go against the law.

The FOBTs are regulated and tested by third-party companies to ensure their randomness. The real issue is the high turnaround and the rapid spin rate as detailed above.

Which FOBT Games are Random?

Although I mentioned at the beginning of the article that Roulette Machines are random, that only relates to roulette, there are some slot games that work on a fixed payout percentage. These type of games are known as ‘compensated’. As a general rule, all of the Pub Slots are compensated, with a few of the £500 jackpot slots also running compensated programs.

To find out, all you need to do is press the info button or watch the load screen as the game boots-up.

What is the Best Way to Bet on the FOBTs?

Let’s talk about roulette betting here, slots are described further along. Roulette is random, however there are various versions and some, such as bonus roulette behave similar to double zero / American Roulette and will have slightly worse odds. Let’s assume you are playing standard European Roulette (single zero) and have a stake of £20. Basic maths tells us that the longer you play, the more likely you are to lose your money, and the speed at which you can play, your £20 may not last much longer than 5 minutes. So how to get around this? Bet a low amount of numbers for higher returns, then leave once you have (if) you win.

The problem with covering most of the table which a lot of people do, the majority of your ‘winning’ bets return less than your stake, so you have a gradual decline of your balance, with your profitable bets returning such small amounts that is makes little to no difference to your starting balance. Although your money may last longer this way, you will never walk out of the bookies with a profit.

So the best way to play? Bet your £20 all at once with at least 75p/80p on a number with a couple at £1.50, £2 or £3. If you lose, you’ve lost £20, if you win you have made around at least 50% on your stake and you live to play another day.

What Stake Should I Play?

Always play to your budget, but when it comes to slots, the higher the stake the higher the Return to Player (RTP). £500 jackpot slot machines will offer the most returns when played on their higher stakes, you may also be awarded features that are not available on the lower value stakes such as bonus respins and sticky wilds.

The percentages are usually at 94% when played on £2 per spin and drop to 88% – 90% when played at 20p or 50p. Short term, you are not likely to notice any different, but if you play slots regularly you will be awarded more wins and more features on the higher stakes.