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Betting shop self-exclusion scheme proving effective

Association of British Bookmakers

4 min read Partner content

New self-exclusion scheme has been extremely successful in reducing or ending the majority of participant's problem gambling, says the Association of British Bookmakers.

Very few new projects can boast a success rate of 83% after only their first year in operation.

But that’s the overwhelmingly positive verdict from customers who opted to join the betting industry’s self-exclusion scheme to help tackle problem gambling.

When the scheme was launched, there were a handful of critics – usually representing vested interests – who said it would not work.

But an independent evaluation of the scheme by the GambleAware charity reveals the vast majority of those who took part believe the scheme successfully helped reduce or end their gambling issues.

The self-exclusion scheme run by betting shops across the industry is simple: anyone worried they might be at risk of problem gambling can ask a betting shop to exclude them from gambling for a set length of time.  Their decision means they will be refused service in places where they have chosen to self-exclude.

The new research released by GambleAware is a detailed evaluation of the Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Scheme (“MOSES”) for licensed betting offices.  It provides irrefutable evidence that the project is very effective in helping problem gamblers.

The findings from GambleAware concluded 83% of users found it to be effective in reducing or stopping their gambling activity and 71% said they have not tried to use their nominated betting shops since they signed up to the scheme.

That success rate is the verdict of customers who thought they might have a gambling problem. It is not the betting industry marking its own homework.

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) welcomed the findings as further evidence that the industry is continually striving to develop new initiatives to help problem gamblers.

ABB Chief Executive Malcolm George said: “This is a highly encouraging result and another example of why betting shops offer gamblers the safest and most responsible place to have a bet. This independent review follows significant investment in the self-exclusion scheme by betting shops.

“We want all customers to enjoy betting as a leisure pursuit and we are committed to ensuring that those experiencing problems get the help that they need. To see 83% of those registered saying they have found it to be an effective way to reduce or stop gambling and that 71% have not attempted to use their nominated bookmakers is great to see.

“It is also a huge credit to our 43,000 shop staff who have trained to use the new system in a short period of time.”

 Overall, the research found:

  • The process to register for self-exclusion is simple and straightforward.
  • Most wishing to register were able to complete the process with a single phone call and the photographic ID required to complete the process was usually received within two weeks of the phone call.
  • Customers who registered for the scheme said they found it easy and fully understood that it was their responsibility to steer clear of betting shops.
  • Betting shop staff found the scheme easy to understand and to explain clearly to customers.

Under the scheme, anyone who feels they may be developing a problem can call a telephone hotline to select the shops, or even entire areas, from which they wish to be excluded. Typically, this could be shops within the areas where they live, work or socialise.

Once the customer has provided the photo ID needed to complete the process, the details are sent to the relevant shops.

At present, around 3,500 people are registered with the scheme that began after a pilot scheme with Medway Council that covered 10 shops in or near Chatham town centre.   A further pilot took place in Glasgow in the summer of 2015 before the scheme was launched nationally.

But the self-exclusion scheme is just one of a host of responsible gambling measures introduced across high street betting shops in the last two years. Customers can now set time and spend limits on gaming machines and a new Player Awareness System monitors account-based play to allow early responsible gambling interventions with customers.

When it comes to the betting industry, Britain’s bookmakers are leading the way on responsible gambling.  It is high time others followed our lead.

The details of the scheme are here

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