Betting is a popular British pastime with 8 million people visiting betting shops every year. The vast majority of customers enjoy betting responsibly and safely.
But, as a responsible business sector we take our responsibilities to our staff and customers extremely seriously and strongly believe that one problem gambler is one too many. It is the reason why we voluntarily contribute nearly £6 million each year for the research, education and treatment of problem gamblers.
Our industry is one of the most regulated in the UK, and rightly so. A combination of the 2005 Gambling Act, a dual licensing regime and additional conditions and codes of practices provide exacting standards to which betting shop operators must adhere.
Despite the regulations already in place, the betting industry is always looking at ways in which we can improve player protection to help those that might fall into difficulties.
We fully understand that there is some public and political concern with regards to gambling and are committed to doing all we can to enhance our consumer protection measures.
With that in mind, we are pleased to say that as of September 2013, all member of the Association of British Bookmakers’ (ABB) have agreed to sign up to an updated Code for Player Protection and Responsible Gambling.
The new code of conduct will ensure our customers are provided with a range of tools to avoid irresponsible gambling and thus avoid gambling related harm to themselves or others. This is the first code of its kind in Europe, implementing new consumer protection measures that should make a real difference.
The betting industry’s new harm prevention strategy will help:
- Issue clear and more accessible information on how to gamble responsibly; highlighting the sources of help available.
- Provide self-help tools to individual players to help control the way they play on machines. New measures include voluntary monetary and time limits; mandatory time-based and monetary reminders; access to gambling history on cards and ensuring that no ATMs are located within betting shops.
- Train staff to detect the signs of potential problem gambling by the young and vulnerable more quickly, allowing more effective interaction. Staff will also receive specific training to disable machines by the remote counter facility to prevent an individual playing prior to the completion of appropriate age verification procedures.
- Ensure all machines in future are located where they can be adequately supervised from the counter with shop staff encouraged to ‘walk the shop floor’ and implement the Think 21 policy amongst machine players.
The ABB and betting shop operators have worked hard on the new code and consulted with Professor Mark Griffiths (Nottingham Trent University’s International Gaming Research Unit), DCMS, the Gambling Commission and the Responsible Gambling Trust.
A new ABB Responsible Gambling committee – chaired by an independent chairman and with an independent assessor – will be responsible for reviewing and evaluating the impact of the enhanced player protection measures.
More information can be found by contacting the ABB.