The Glasgow pilot scheme which gives someone who may be developing a problem with their gambling a one-stop facility to exclude themselves from all betting shop operators across the City is expanding from today, to include more shops and more operators.
Launched in July with 36 participating shops across the five major betting shop operators the scheme will be expanded to include 300 shops across the wider Glasgow area – effectively any location with a Glasgow postcode.
The extension of the scheme sees two independent operators join for the first time – Margaret Morton (1 shop) and Scotbet (2 shops).
Under the scheme, any customer who visits one of the participating shops who feels they are getting into difficulty with their gambling can now “self-exclude” by simply contacting the trained central team of advisers, who will then tailor their self-exclusion based on locations they frequently visit – for example, most customers in the initial trial only choose to include the shops near their home, place of work and where they socialise.
It is important that customers choose shops where they are already known or regularly frequent, as self-exclusion will be more effective where this is the case, and the shop team will be able to support them fully in their exclusion.
The helpline advisor will also be able to give customers information about how to get help, including the details of counselling services or treatment programmes.
Prior to the launch of this scheme, a customer had to visit or contact each operator separately, and then enter into an individual agreement with each.
This pilot scheme is playing a key part in developing a cross-operator scheme that will be rolled out to all 9,000 bookmakers during the spring of 2016.
Malcolm George, Chief Executive of the Association of British Bookmakers, said: “The expansion of the scheme to include 300 shops and independent operators shows our members’ commitment to people who may have a problem with their gambling and makes it easier for them to self-exclude.
“We know that some customers have been reluctant to self-exclude in the past because they had to have separate agreements with each operator. It is important though that someone wishing to exclude chooses to do so from shops where they regularly visit or are known to staff, as this will allow the shop teams to support them properly.
“This pilot project is playing a major role in developing the first multi-operator self-exclusion scheme which will launch next year. We all want to learn what works and what doesn’t work from this initiative. It comes as we have updated the ABB’s ‘Responsible Gambling Code’, which sets rigorous standards for our members, allowing betting shop customers to bet safely and responsibly, while at the same time ensuring that those who could be developing difficulties are able to get the help they need quickly.”