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February 2014

Holding Bookie Bosses Accountable For Problem Gambling

by Renee Israel

Ladbrokes to Tie Executive Pay to Problem Betting

It seems that UK bookmakers have been pushed into a corner as lawmakers continue to put pressure on the industry. These days, as the government mulls the restriction of fixed odds betting terminals, bookmakers are taking radical steps to highlight their commitment to the fight against problem gambling, and swing public support in their favour.

Early this week, two events showed just how far bookmakers are prepared to go to protect their shares and promote a positive image.

The first came in the form of a letter to the editor of the Telegraph written by the heads of Gala Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, William Hill and Betfred, declaring the launch of a new Code for Responsible Gambling.

The second is the news that Ladbrokes chief, Richard Glynn will see his - and other executives' - pays tied to the company's success in preventing problem gambling.

Gambling Bosses Pledge New Code

In their joint letter to The Telegraph, Carl Leaver (Gala Coral), Richard Glynn (Ladbrokes), Patrick Kennedy (Paddy Power), Ralph Topping (William Hill) and Fred Done (Betfred), declared the promotion of a new Code for Responsible Gambling and extra safeguards that will be used on fixed odds gaming machines, that will be implemented this week.

The executives said that the machines will include forced breaks, with automatic alerts on money and time spent by players at the machines. In addition, 40,000 staff members have been trained to look out for signs of problem gambling behaviour and how to approach players who are displaying that type of behaviour.

"People who bet responsibly and return are the bedrock of our businesses," says the letter. "We do not want our customers to develop problems. The launch of the Code this week demonstrates our determination to address concerns about problem gambling."

Ladbrokes Links Executives' Pay to Problem Gambling

Another step taken by the gambling industry came in the form of a decision made by Ladbrokes to link the pay of its top executives, including Richard Glynn, to the success of the group's problem gambling efforts.

According Sky News, Glynn will "pledge the insertion of responsible gambling criteria into the contracts of the company's most senior managers" including his own.

In a letter obtained by Sky News, Glynn writes:

"Ladbrokes has always placed a high degree of focus on responsible gambling. It is a core part of our values and a central component of our license to operate. To this end, we have always trained our staff, promoted responsible gambling and funded research, education and treatment services. However, we have decided to go a step further."

"In short," he continues, "we believe that responsible gambling not only needs to be at the heart of our business, it needs to be seen to be at the heart of our business."

Story Highlights »
  • Bookmakers doing all they can to promote responsible, positive image.
  • Ladbrokes executives to have special problem gambling commitment clause inserted into their contracts.

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