This site offers a case study of a controversial subject – fixed odds betting terminals. Most of us either don’t gamble, or bet very moderately. But by understanding the issues around FOBTs (also know as fobties), we will discover an extreme example of how all of us can become ‘addicted’ to our use of digital machines – social media, the internet, particular online behaviours such as shopping and the ways in which we devote so much of our lives to the digital world. Much of the underlying psychology of gambling behaviour applies to our everyday lives.

This is the first project of our main site, The Machine Zone which explores more generally our place in the digital world.

This case study involves our understanding many important aspects of contemporary life. We aim to promote thinking about these things. Hopefully, the site will be of particular interest to teachers and others who work with young people, anybody who uses digital devices, and particularly those who have run into problems.

  • How addiction – to gambling machines or Facebook – is not a character flaw or weakness of will but can be explained best by thinking about the factors such as the environment and the design of the brain.
  • How individuals and organisations lobby and campaign for changes in society.
  • How Parliament, the Law interact with businesses. How democracy in action often involves very slow processes that seek to accommodate many opposing views.
  • The role of the mass media in shaping public opinion.
  • The design of digital devices and software is a growing area of marketing. ‘Digital psychology’ courses help businesses design products based on proven psychology, products which will potential ‘hook’ clients.
  • Questions around the ethics of business. These have been frequently raised in relation to alcohol and food industries. This site loos at competig views about the betting industry.
  • Questions around the freedom of businesses to offer products, and the freedom of individual consumers/ users to use them.
  • Are the betting industry’s defences of fotbies as valid as those who criticise them? Who decides? How?
  • What counts as evidence in policy making?
  • Gambling addiction in general is now the only behaviour classified as a psychiatric illness. There are very many forms of gambling, FOBties are only one, so there are many possibilities for addiction. However, there is great concern about online forms of gambling, many of which share the same features as fobties. It is claimed that children and young people are at greatest risk.
  • We live in a world where gambling is normalised by an increasing prevalence of television advertisements.
  • How ‘addicted’ are we to our digital devices?