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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Gambling Commission to look into self-exclusion after BBC investigation

ABB chairman Paul Darling said it was a critical time for the retail betting industry
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The Gambling Commission has pledged to follow up a BBC Radio 5 Live investigation, in which an undercover reporter was able to place a bet in 19 of the 21 bookmakers he visited in Grimsby, despite signing up to the government's multi-operator self-exclusion scheme.

BBC reporter Rob Cave signed up to the scheme for Grimsby and had his name and photograph circulated but went into 16 shops and played on FOBTs before finding one in which he was challenged and asked to leave.

Cave chose Grimsby due to its high number of betting shops, and his investigation has raised fresh questions over the efficacy of the self-exclusion scheme.

Sarah Gardner, the Gambling Commission's executive director, said: "The result of the BBC investigation is concerning and we'll be making our own inquiries into what happened in this case.

"We're determined to drive improvements in behaviour across the industry in terms of the effort they put into reducing gambling-related harm, and it really is getting to the stage where there is nowhere to hide for businesses who don't take this seriously."

She added: "What we would like to see is much more emphasis from gambling businesses on intervening at an early stage before there is a need to self-exclude."

A spokesman for the Association of British Bookmakers said in a statement: "This is a disappointing result. However, it was conducted in artificial circumstances, involving a small sample, over a short period of time and the individual concerned was not a problem gambler or previously known to shop staff.

"By its very nature those who self-exclude are normally known to the staff in the shops they exclude from.

"In reality an independent review of the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme revealed that 83 per cent of participants agreed it had been effective in reducing or stopping their gambling activity, and 71 per cent said they have not attempted to use their nominated betting shops since signing up."

The spokesman added: "We accept that the current self-exclusion scheme is not without flaws, however we're continually developing improved systems and seeking to reduce the reliance on staff to recognise those that have self-excluded."

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The result of the BBC investigation is concerning and we will be making our own enquiries into what happened in this case
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