INVENTOR HAS CASHED IN.
Byline: Alan Selby
FORMER bookie Steve Frater invented fixed odds betting terminals and used the proceeds to build up a PS3.8million property empire.
He came up with the first FOBTs in 1998 with his Austrian business partner Walter Grubmuller - and built the first terminal in a kitchen. Less than a decade later they sold their firm to US giant Scientific Games for more than PS100million.
Frater, now 65, continued to pocket a fortune as chairman of Global Draw Limited, a subsidiary of Scientific Games.
He netted more than PS18million as chairman until he retired in March 2016. Frater now runs his investment portfolio from his PS3million home in Essex. In 2013 he told how he and Grubmuller knew they were pushing gambling boundaries "to the limit" with the controversial FOBT.
He said arcade, casino and bingo groups claimed the system was illegal. But after he and Grubmuller signed a deal with Coral "everyone wanted them", he added.
Londoner Frater worked for William Hill before he and his business pal set up as independent bookies in the mid 1990s.
They worked out of Grubmuller's home, using his kitchen as an office, the dining room as a lab and his garage as the warehouse.
Within weeks their machines, also known as B2s, were appearing in betting shops around Britain.
QUIDS IN: Frater, left, and his pal Grubmuller