Gala Coral’s FOBT policy under fire

Gala Coral’s FOBT policy under fire

Monday, June 13, 2016 Totally Gaming
A BBC report alleged shop workers encouraged FOBT play

Gala Coral has reiterated its commitment to responsible gambling after a BBC report claimed betting shop workers were told to offer customers perks to keep them playing on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT).

In a feature on the Victoria Derbyshire BBC2 programme that was broadcast earlier today (Monday), a former manager at a Coral betting shop said staff were given instructions to offer machine players refreshments as soon as they entered the shop and do "absolutely anything" to make them feel comfortable. He also alleged that he was told by an area manager to provide food for punters so that they could spend more time on the FOBTs during their lunch hour.

A current manager at a Coral shop said workers felt pressure to hit financial targets on the FOBTs, with a memo from Coral's central operations giving advice on how to encourage players to maximise revenues on a game called ‘Big Banker’.

It said: "Ensure your team has… identified your target key customers to demonstrate our popular feature game. Offer a demo to all of your machine customers to whet their appetite, then encourage them to play with their own money.

"Once you have identified your target customers, it often helps when you use a 'hook' to encourage them to play. 'You like Big Banker, do you have our bonus card yet? It's quick, it's easy and it's free'."

In response, Gala Coral said it takes its commitments to responsible gambling "extremely seriously". It added it had "strengthened protections for all its customers, providing help and support for the very small minority that may have issues with their gambling activity".

The Gala Coral statement added:"Recent health surveys show that problem gambling rates have in fact fallen since the introduction of FOBTs and the average Coral customer's loss per session on a FOBT is around £6-9.

"The introduction of supervised stakes above £50 from April last year has had a profound change in customer behaviour, with an approximate 70 per cent reduction in stakes above that level.Training, tools and processes are in place throughout the business to ensure that potential problem gamblers are identified and protected."

TotallyGaming.com says: “Gala Coral has long been considered a leader in tackling problem gambling, with the company’s director of corporate affairs, Fiona Thorne, last year telling TotallyGaming.com how it hoped to build partnerships to make self-exclusion easier across the industry.”

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