By Jorgie McHale
CASINOS AND bookmakers throughout the UK have launched the first ever Responsible Gambling Week.
The campaign is to promote responsible gambling and the services available to support problem gamblers.
The cross-industry campaign is running from October 12-18 involving 10,000 casinos and bookmakers with over 120,000 employees taking part, making it the largest cross-industry responsibility campaign ever.
The gambling industry has been heavily criticised by deputy Labour leader Tom Watson at the party conference in Brighton where he accused the industry of “targeting the poorest communities”.
Sarah Harrison, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “Problem gambling can have a devastating impact not only on those who are gambling but also on their friends, family and communities.”
A 51-year-old former casino worker from West Yorkshire, who did not want to be named, said despite not being able to game in his own establishment, he still became addicted.
He said: “I needed money for my car and kids. I couldn’t sleep because I’d be thinking about what I’d be spending next.”
The father-of-two said he left his home to start a new life elsewhere: “Gambling ruined my life. It isn’t worth the buzz – I’d win £250 in a sitting and just blow it.”
Despite this, several bookmakers throughout Leeds are not actively taking part in the campaign.
Deborah Stuttard, 55, customer experience manager with over 30 years’ experience at William Hill, Horsforth, spoke about the importance supporting potential addicts.
She said: “Within our shop we mainly see regulars who we get to know on a personal level.
“They understand their limits and know if they were chasing their losses or losing a significant amount they could always talk to us and get support.
“We could be doing more to support the campaign but if we do recognise any signs – we step in.”
To find out more about Responsible Gambling Week visit: www.ResponsibleGamblingWeek.co.uk or Tweet at @RGWeek2017.