ABB defends self-exclusion scheme

ABB defends self-exclusion scheme

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 Totally Gaming
The scheme attempts to give people the chance to exclude themselves from multiple operators

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has defended a pilot self-exclusion scheme after critics claimed it was failing.

The Kent Online website reported that only 26 people had opted to exclude themselves from 10 gambling shops in Chatham, Kent during the first nine months of the scheme – including just three in the last three months.

The website further reports that a journalist signed up to the scheme - which attempts to give people the chance to exclude themselves from multiple operators rather than just one at a time - but was then able to gamble in all but one of the shops included in the pilot.

The ABB, which is leading the scheme along with Medway Council, disputes that claim, and also said that the pilot was helping to inform the much-discussed nationwide self-exclusion scheme.

“We do not accept this was a serious illustration of what happens when someone genuinely wants to self-exclude, as before that would happen, staff would have been speaking to the person, advised them on the options, including calling the gambling helpline number or speaking to counsellors,” an ABB spokesman told Kent Online.

“We want to learn what does and doesn’t work. The information and lessons we learn from this will play a key role in shaping the launch of a nationwide self-exclusion scheme, which will come into effect next spring.”

Local councillor Vince Maple, who has been involved in a campaign against fixed-odds terminals, said: “The pilot has definitely had mixed results, and there are real flaws in it. But the changes that need to be made cannot come from one local authority alone, this is a national issue.”

A Medway Council spokesman added: “While this is disappointing, the self-exclusion scheme set up by the Medway Responsible Gambling Partnership is a pilot project, and the reason for the pilot is to see where there are strengths and weaknesses and highlight what can be done to improve the initiative.

“Therefore we will be sure to take these findings on board.”

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