Betting shops good for “community activism” according to the ABB
Retail betting shops have helped to create a sense of “community activism” according to the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) Scotland.
Speaking at an awards ceremony for Betting Shop of the Year ABB spokesman, Donald Morrison, made the comments whilst speaking to B2B gaming industry magazine, TotallyGaming.com.
He added that the level of community activism in betting shops is hugely encouraging and deserves to be recognised: “Often, they [betting shop staff] have grown up in the area and are well known in their local community. I was especially conscious of this in Dunoon where shop manager Lucy has worked in the same shop since she was 18 and is now retiring this year.”
Regional Operations Manager for Ladbrokes in Scotland, Darren Wales, said that betting shops are at the heart of their local areas: “This is a true example of our betting shops engaging in community spirit and helping good causes. We are delighted that our colleagues’ dedication is being rewarded and we would like to say a huge ‘congratulations’ to them, for really going the extra mile.”
One of the competition’s judges, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), Phil Prentice, said:
Betting shops are an important part of the fabric of our high streets, supporting local jobs, the retail sector and the public purse, but they also serve as important community hubs, a place where local people can meet, bet and socialise in a safe, friendly environment.– Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP)
He added that the finalists in the competition underline the importance of betting shops to the communities they serve and compared any potential losses to other community assets that have been vanishing from town centres such as pubs and high-street stores.
Retail betting shops have been under pressure recently due to calls for a crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and, in particular, the maximum bet players can stake. FOBTs bring in around £500m in revenue each year for bookmakers, allowing players to bet £100 every 20 seconds. Gambling companies have threatened closures if the proposal to lower the maximum bet go through, but the Government announced on Friday 15th July that it was delaying any changes until 2020. Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, a vocal opponent of the gambling industry, described the move as “pathetic”.
The award for ABB’s ‘Community Betting Shop of the Year Award’ was won by the Ladbrokes Dunoon branch. A William Hill shop in Johnstone came second, whilst a branch of Scotbet in Selkirk was named third.