“It’s encouraging that the gambling industry commissioned this research and has taken an honest look at the shortcomings in its work to promote responsible gambling."
Responding to a report published today by GambleAware which shows gambling operators are not giving staff suitable training in how to promote safe gambling among customers, Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
“It’s encouraging that the gambling industry commissioned this research and has taken an honest look at the shortcomings in its work to promote responsible gambling.
“Promoting responsible gambling and supporting vulnerable customers cannot simply be left to individual staff working in premises who have not been properly trained, and who may be managing premises single-handedly.
“As the report makes clear, measures promoting responsible gambling to consumers need to be much more accessible and impactful, and staff need proper training and support, particularly to recognise signs of problem gambling and customers who may be ‘chasing their losses’. The industry should take rapid steps to address this because problem gambling can have a devastating impact on personal debt, mental health and family relationships, and lead to homelessness and crime and disorder.
“This research also highlights the importance of the legal regulatory framework in protecting players. On top of recent fines issued by the Gambling Commission to gambling operators, this is further evidence of the industry failing to protect players and pursue socially responsible growth.
“The current review of gaming machines and social responsibility is an opportunity for government to use the levers at its disposal to strike a better balance. This is why we are urging the Government to lower maximum stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £2 in line with other gaming machines to help protect those at risk of problem gambling from incurring higher losses. It should also look at curbs on the volume of gambling advertising, particularly where it is accessible by children.
“Councils are not anti-bookies but a new cumulative impact test would also give them the power to veto new betting shops – and FOBTs - in places where there are already existing clusters.”