Responsible Gambling Focus: Bookmakers
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) is the industry association for high street betting shops. Members included GVC (Ladbrokes Coral), William Hill, Paddy Power, Betfair, and over 100 independent bookmakers. Collectively, the ABB represents over 80% of the high street betting shop industry.
Responsible Gambling Code
All members of the ABB must comply with a Responsible Gambling Code, developed in conjunction with responsible gambling charities and members companies. Compliance with the code is mandatory and includes a number of rigorous consumer protection measures.
The measures included in the Code are designed to help with early identification of those who might be at-risk of developing problem gambling and to support those who have a problem controlling their gambling.
Responsible Gambling Information
All ABB members pro-actively promote Responsible Gambling messages, such as the GambleAware website, and ensures leaflets with responsible gambling information are prominently available in shops. The top screen of gaming machines also display responsible responsible gambling information for at least 25% of the time.
Betting shops operate a strict 'Think 21' policy, anyone who appears to be under 21 is asked for proof of age. Regular testing is carried out by an independent company, using test purchasers and the results are published by the Gambling Commission. Staff are also trained to spot and prevent under-age access to gaming machines.
Under the industry Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Scheme (MOSES), betting shop customers cons excluded themselves from multiple shops run by different operators. ABB members maintain a central self-exclusion register and members have processes in place to ensure staff are effectively implementing self-exclusion and auditing the success of the scheme.
Self-excluded customers are removed from the operators marketing databases and signposted to sport services, such as the National Gambling Helpline.
Limit Setting On Gaming
Players must decide whether or not they want to set a limit before they are allowed to start playing on gaming. When player reaches their chosen set limit they are presented with an option to stop and cash out, or to change their limit and keep playing. If the player chooses to keep playing they will be forced to have a 30-second break before they can start playing again. Staff are alerted every time a mandatory alert is triggered or if a player sets a new limit, so they can intervene, if they assess it as appropriate.
All players are given mandatory alerts for every twenty minutes played, or for every £150 added to the machine.
Player Awareness System Pass (PAS)
The betting shop industry has developed new technology that it is able to track player behaviour for markers of harm. The account-based Player Awareness System (PAS), first launched in 2015, marked a significant step in the development fo harm minimisation measures in betting shops. PAS systems analyse the behaviour of those playing on gaming machines and assess it against a range of markers of problem gambling. Where behaviour is identified as indicating as potentially harmful play, the player is warned of this either on the gaming machine terminal, by text or by email. In addition, betting shop staff are alerted in shop terminals.
Anonymous Player Awareness System Pass (APAS)
In addition to the player awareness system for account-based play, the industry is developing an Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS) which will monitor non account-based play fro markers of harm. APAS has already been trialed across 535 betting shops in Birmingham, Kent and Glasgow.
Following the positive outcomes of both quantitive and qualitative evaluation of the trials the system will now be rolled out across all betting shops.