Coral appear in BBC’s “Britain At The Bookies” starting tonight
Coral agreed to take part in a three part documentary about the betting industry which looks at every aspect of the business from the high street and trading floor to the “Strictly” dance floor and racetrack. It highlights the great fun and enjoyment brought to millions by gambling, the community spirit of local shops and the highs and lows of winning and losing. Over 8 million people a year regularly visit their local bookie and 9,000 betting shops are valued employers and social hubs in many local communities across the nation.
However, it does not shy away from challenges faced by operators in seeking to help and support those with gambling problems and touches briefly on just a few of the measures the industry has introduced to put responsible gambling at the heart of the business.
Simon Clare, PR Director at Coral, who features in the series said:
“Having a flutter is a long standing part of our culture, and for many people their local bookie is part of their leisure and community life. But unlike the largely ubiquitous pub, bookies are unchartered territory for some, and when that lack of familiarity is combined with the largely negative portrayal of bookies in the media it’s easy for people to view them with some trepidation and mistrust.
“The TV series is an opportunity to give people a chance to get to know a modern day bookie a little better – warts and all. Much of the series shows the British public that we are a fun and vibrant industry with positive, passionate, staff that care about their customers. But it is also important to show openly, as the series does, the challenges faced by the small number of our customers whose gambling is, or may become, out of control. The industry is doing more than ever before to help protect those who may be at risk of harm – and a little bit of this work it touched on briefly in the programme – but a huge amount is being done so there is more help available than ever before.
“At the end of each programme the website and helpline for those who need help with gambling issues will be publicised, and trained advisors will be standing by to help those who call. Education about the potential risks of problem gambling is one area we invest in heavily – and we believe this programme is another way to prompt those who may need it to seek help, or to step back from their gambling before it becomes a problem.”
The programme “Britain at the Bookies” will be on BBC1 at 9pm on 20 and 27 July and 3 August.
Over the last 18 months, the leading bookmakers have put in place a raft of measures to put responsible gambling at the heart of their business, these include:
• Promotion of responsible gambling messages in shops, on all adverts and in windows
• Removal of all gaming machine advertising in shop windows
• Put limits and alerts in place on gaming machines to help customers stay in control and help shop colleagues know when to intervene
• Shorter opening times
• Self-imposed restrictions on advertising sign up incentives before 9pm on TV
• Multi-million pound advertising campaign (led by newly formed Senet Group www.senetgroup.org.uk) to educate young men on how to stay in control of their gambling
The industry has also worked with the government and regulators on other changes over the last year which includes:
· Changes in planning laws to give Councils greater power over new betting shop license openings
· Restrictions on people staking over £50 on gaming machines
The industry is also currently involved in projects to:
• Improve self-exclusion so it works across operators and ultimately across sectors
• Apply the learnings of a major study on gaming machines (2014 RGT research) to the business through using analysis of machine play patterns to help identify where intervention is needed
• Updating the industry code to ensure high standards of player protection are applied across the industry
In addition to being one of the key drivers of the recent industry measures, Coral has also taken further action to put responsible gambling at the heart of our business:
• We put in place our 3 responsible gambling principles:
– Adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of the law
– Provide industry leadership to help drive change
– Look for opportunities within our business to go further
• We established a Responsible Gambling Committee, chaired by the CEO, and attended our senior management team
• We have become more proactive about learning from experiences in the business and changing our policies and practices if needed – for example – we now have much tighter guidelines for colleagues to guide them about when to interact if they are concerned about a customers’ gambling patterns
• We have a rolling programme of training for colleagues to help them spot and handle customers who may have a problem with their gambling and now also have a dedicated Player Protection team which provides more specialist expertise where needed – either to colleagues or dealing directly with customers