Medway in south east England is to trial a scheme which will allow gamblers to exclude themselves from all betting shops in the area with a single registration. Medway Council and the Association of British Bookmakers will launch the project in December which will enable customers to ban themselves from every betting shop operator in Chatham High Street for the first time.
Under the ground breaking scheme, which has been introduced to try and address concerns over gaming machines, when a customer indicates they wish to self-exclude from a gambling shop, staff will be help them fill in a self-exclusion form and the information will then be shared with the other local betting shops.
The individual will be asked to provide two photographs and personal details will be retained by staff who will watch out for them and be alerted to their request to be prevented from gambling in any shop in the pilot area.
The Voluntary Partnership Agreement will be monitored by the Medway Responsible Gambling Partnership which includes representatives from Medway Council, gambling operators, the Association of British Bookmakers, police, the Community Safety Partnership and Safer Medway Partnership.
Perry Holmes, Medway Council’s Assistant Director of Legal and Corporate Services, said: “Medway Council is delighted to have signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement, which is the first of its kind, and to be at the cutting edge of promoting responsible gambling in our community. We have reached this point with the support and collaboration of the Association of British Bookmakers, members of the Medway betting industry, Kent Police and the Safer Medway Partnership.
“We are particularly pleased that all the partners have agreed to establish a localised self-exclusion scheme in Chatham on a pilot basis and look forward to seeing how the measures contained within both the pilot and the wider agreement work to reduce gambling harm in Medway.”
Hilary Douglas, Campaigns Director at the Association of British Bookmakers, said: “We are pleased to have agreed this ground-breaking pilot scheme, and we look forward to starting the cross-operator self-exclusion trial in December. We welcome this opportunity to work with Medway Council on such an important issue, which will help customers in Chatham to bet safely and responsibly, which is what we all want.”
It is anticipated that the multi-operator self-exclusion pilot will run for two years. The project will be discussed at Licensing and Safety Committee on 18 November.