SIS (Sports Information Services) has teamed up with the Racing Post to host a one-off Betting Shop Champion Awards, aimed at recognising the efforts of retail betting and gaming staff during the COIVD-19 pandemic.
As with other sectors of the UK economy, the retail betting sector has been hard hit by lockdowns, with high street bookmakers forced to close their doors for much of 2020 and 2021.
Following months of inactivity, betting shops in England and Wales were able to reopen and resume trading on Monday 12 April, whilst Scottish retail outlets unlocked their doors later in the same month, in a move described by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) as ‘another step closer to normality’.
As a result of the pandemic, the industry’s annual Betting Shop Manager of the Year award was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021, prompting both the Racing Post and SIS to decide to ‘do something to celebrate the ‘fantastic work’ done throughout the industry’, as detailed by the outlet.
Alan Byrne, Racing Post Chief Executive, remarked: “We have heard many stories of managers and other people in retail going above and beyond the call of duty to protect the health of their customers and their staff, and simply to keep their shops open for business in the face of the challenges the pandemic has imposed on us all.
“We want to salute those efforts and highlight the resilience and determination that so many people have shown.”
Betting shop staff can nominate a colleague using an online form from today until 3 September. Eight staff members will then be shortlisted and recognised at a virtual awards event hosted by the Racing Post’s Lee Mottershead on 17 November.
The panel conducting the shortlisting will feature Helen Scott, Head of Service Management at SIS; former British Horseracing Authority (BHA) Chief Executive Nick Rust, Ibas CEO Richard Hayler, horse racing commentator and TV presenter Tanya Stevenson and freelance writer and Racing Post contributor Jim Cremin.
Richard Ames, Chief Executive of SIS, also commented: “It’s been a very difficult time for the industry over the last 18 months, but during this period there will be countless stories of how betting shop managers and staff have gone above and beyond for their customers.
“We are very pleased to be part of these awards and want to recognise the efforts of those who have continued to offer outstanding service to their communities and our industry.
“Good luck to all those who are nominated and I look forward to celebrating our betting shop heroes at the awards.”