The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has defended the government’s current Multi-Operator Self Exclusion Scheme (MOSES), claiming that a recent BBC Radio 5 Live investigation, which criticised the scheme “was conducted in artificial circumstances.”
The scheme has come in for criticism after an undercover reporter managed to place bets in 19 of 21 Grimsby betting shops, even after he had signed himself up to the self-exclusion scheme.
Nonetheless, the ABB has retained that the current system of self-exclusions represents an effective scheme in helping combat problem gambling, an ABB spokesperson told the BBC: “This is a disappointing result, however it was conducted in artificial circumstances, involving a small sample, over a short period of time and the individual concerned was not a problem gambler or previously known to shop staff. By its very nature, those who self-exclude are normally known to the staff in the shops they exclude from.
“In reality an independent review of the Multi-Operator Self Exclusion Scheme, revealed that 83% of participants agreed that it had been effective in reducing or stopping their gambling activity and 71% said they have not attempted to use their nominated betting shops since signing up. We accept that the current self-exclusion scheme is not without flaws however we are continually developing improved systems and seeking to reduce the reliance on staff to recognise those that have self-excluded.”
Sarah Gardner, the Gambling Commission’s Executive Director, also commented: “The result of the BBC investigation is concerning and we’ll be making our own inquiries into what happened in this case.
“We’re determined to drive improvements in behaviour across the industry in terms of the effort they put into reducing gambling-related harm, and it really is getting to the stage where there is nowhere to hide for businesses who don’t take this seriously.”
She added: “What we would like to see is much more emphasis from gambling businesses on intervening at an early stage before there is a need to self-exclude.”