UKGC – Betwatch bids to make Birmingham bookmakers a safer place

As part of a new Betwatch scheme to make Birmingham bookmakers a safer place, five people have been banned from 24 betting shops across Birmingham City Centre.

Launched 18 months ago, Betwatch is a partnership between the Gambling Commission, the police, local council and bookmakers designed to tackle localised anti-social and criminal behaviour in and around betting shops.

Betwatch issued the bans after Birmingham City Council and West Midlands police raised concerns regarding suspected anti-social behaviour being committed in or around a Birmingham bookmaker, that has remained unnamed by the Gambling Commission

The innovative Betwatch scheme means that a banned from one, banned from all policy has been implemented by bookmakers in Birmingham. 

therefore, having been handed the ban by Betwatch, the five individuals involved are prohibited from entering any bookmaker in the city centre.

Names and images have also been circulated among the betting shops to allow staff to identify the individuals concerned.

Helen Venn, programme director for compliance at the Gambling Commission said: “This is a really positive result for Betwatch, which has been rolled out across Birmingham central for 18 months now.

“We want the community, whether they are a customers at a local bookie or not, to feel safe and that they are protected. This stands for betting shop employees too.

“The reality is anti-social behaviour and the crime associated with betting shops can only be tackled if gambling businesses, police, local authorities and the Gambling Commission work together.

“Betwatch achieves this, allowing each partner to address issues with the tools they have available to them, and in circumstances such as this, refuse service to those that pose a risk to the public.”

Sharon Horner, West Midlands Police’s Designing Out Crime Officer, said “Betwatch illustrates the calmative effect of people working together to reach a mutually desired outcome of reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in the community and enhancing the betting experience.”

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