A new wave of criticism has hit a UK Government scheme that is aimed at providing betting shops staff to prevent problem gamblers from getting access to their services.
As revealed by Rob Cave, a BBC reporter acting under cover, pretended to be a gambling addict who should have been blocked from the chance to use fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) with local bookmakers. He, however, actually succeeded to place a bet in 19 out of 21 betting shops. The reporter’s investigation was carried out in Grimsby, which was specifically chosen for the fact that the town in question is currently known as one of the places with one of the highest levels of betting shops on the territory of the UK.
Reporter Carries Outs Undercover Investigation
The undercover reported had opted himself out from fixed-odds betting terminals by signing up to the new multi-operator self-exclusion scheme. The initiative that had been started by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is aimed at helping problem gamblers exclude themselves from more than one betting shop at a time in the region where they live or work. The system was officially introduced in 2017 as part of the gambling regulatory authorities to boost social responsibility in terms of problem gambling.
Signing up with the scheme should have guaranteed that the player would not be able to be served in such betting shops, but the reporter’s investigation proved otherwise.
Now, the results of the investigation carried out by BBC Five Live Investigates, undoubtedly raised questions not only about the efficiency of the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, but also about the local gambling industry’s attitude towards problem gambling and gambling addicts.
Unfortunately, it took 17 betting shops visits to the reporter until he was finally recognized by the shop’s staff and asked to leave under the Government’s self-exclusion scheme he signed up to. Over the course of the investigation, the reporter not only managed to enter the betting shops and place their wager, but the staff also tried to make him more comfortable while betting.
Problem Gambling Has Spread in the UK
The investigation’s findings raised the concerns not only of the major gambling regulatory authority in the UK, but also raised some questions about the efficiency of the Commission’s efforts to tackle problem gambling among local customers.
Problem gambling has become one of the most serious issues in the UK gambling industry over the past few years. The number of gambling addicts in the UK has been constantly increasing, with many local problem gamblers’ addictions being associated with fixed-odds betting terminals. The latter have been much criticised due to their addictive character and the high maximum stake that could be placed.
The UK Gambling Commission has pledged to make certain improvements in the regulatory regime of the machines, which maximum stakes are to be reduced under the Government’s crackdown. UK authorities have been aimed at reducing gambling-related harm, as well as to educate, protect and help gambling addicts in the country.
Despite local regulators’ efforts, the results do not seem satisfactory. The Association of British Bookmakers valued the results of the investigation as a disappointing one regardless of the fact that it was carried out in artificial circumstances.
Susan Sutton is a writer and an author at CasinoNewsDaily. Her journalism career started back in high school as a writer for the school’s newspaper.