Industry watchdog, The Senet Group has argued that the failings of 888 shouldn’t undermine the importance of self-exclusion schemes as a way of preventing or managing problem gambling.
The London-based independent body provides a self-exclusion scheme that covers all British bookmakers and allows a person to exclude themselves from multiple locations with a single call to the team.
Senet states that thereafter the primary duty to honour the exclusion rests with the individual. Adding that bookmakers are expected to do all they can to support these decisions to self-exclude, including intervening if someone who has self-excluded seeks to enter the premises and gamble.
Senet has announced it understands the 888 finding is specific to that online company and its company-specific self-exclusion arrangements. The Gambling Commission found what they describe as “significant flaws” in the processes. The decision to impose a fine and to require repayments was a decision of the Commission and tied to what they found with 888.
Wanda Goldwag, chair of The Senet Group said: “The Senet Group has had responsibility for the retail bookmaker multi-operator self-exclusion scheme (MOSES) for a year. The retail scheme covers over 8,000 individual premises and relies on the commitment of those who register and the best endeavors of shop staff across the land. Alongside the exclusion schemes run by each operator the central scheme has helped over 5,000 people as they seek to manage their gambling habits.
“Research we commissioned showed that the vast majority of those surveyed had succeeded in staying away from betting shops with 71% making no attempt to play and 80% saying the scheme had reduced or totally stopped their gambling.
“These schemes do not work for everyone. The reality is that those with a desperate need to gamble may find a way. But we must not let the past behaviour of one business undermine the value of self-exclusion as a tool in managing the risk of and harm from problem gambling.”