Bookmakers deliver 325,000-strong petition of support to PM

Bookmakers deliver 325,000-strong petition of support to PM

Monday, December 19, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Association of British Bookmakers has been campaigning for the industry

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) says that a petition signed by more than 325,000 betting shop staff and customers from across the country demonstrates how the British Public feel about betting shops, rather than how it is depicted in sensationalist headlines in the media.

A delegation of betting shop staff and Roar! Betting founder Dominic Ford delivered the petition to the Prime Minister’s house 10 Downing Street last week as the industry finds itself under great scrutiny.

ABB PR manager Peter Craske told said the number of supporters willing to put their name forward in defence if betting shops was a strong message: “I think they show politicians the depth of feeling on an issue and we have been able to show the support for betting shops of 325,000 people, who choose to enjoy their leisure time with us.”

The petition was collected as part of the recent ‘Back Your Local Bookie’ campaign and called on the Government to support an industry that employs 43,000 people, serves six million customers and which has been trading on the high street for 55 years.

The ABB says more than 300 betting shops have been forced to shut in the past two years as a result of more regulation and higher taxes.   

Customers and staff now fear there could be hundreds more closures if more unnecessary regulation is introduced by the Government.

Among the delegation at Downing Street was Vicky Knight, who works for independent bookie Jennings Bet and has signed the petition. She said: “The support we’ve had from our customers over the past few weeks for our campaign has been fantastic. They enjoy their local bookie and would be devastated, as would staff, if the Government took draconian action against bookies.

“We care about our customers and we are there to help the very small number of customers who get into problems with their gambling. Bookies cater for millions of people who enjoy over-the-counter betting and gaming machines (FOBTs), if we lose either of these, we are finished. And, without bookies, there will be even more empty shops and fewer reasons for people to come into town.”

ABB chief executive Malcolm George added: “Britain’s betting shops have been open for business on our high streets and in local communities since before The Beatles. They have a long record of ensuring customers can bet safely and responsibly and it is vital that the work of staff and the voice of our six million customers are not ignored.

“We hope politicians and the public will visit their local betting shop to see for themselves what a great community they are and talk to the staff and locals who enjoy their flutter at the bookies.”

Totally Gaming says: The petition is a good tool to pierce the hysteria surrounding betting shops at the moment, particularly regarding FOBTs which are currently being looked at in the latest Triennial Review of stakes and prizes. Bookmakers need to create a groundswell of grassroots support if they are going to get politicians to even give them a fair hearing.

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