Bookies sign up to watchdog
Pre-empting some tough measures which were set to come into play, three out of the four big high street bookmakers have signed themselves up to a new voluntary watchdog. These new statutory measures are looking at the prevalence of betting shops, aggressive customer recruitment and high-speed roulette machines.
William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral (as well as the smaller, but equally noticeable Paddy Power) have vowed that, from next month, they'll remove all adverts for touch-screen roulette machines from windows and start dedicating space to messages telling you to gamble responsibly.
They've also promised to refrain from advertising sign-up offers that suggest we can all get "free bets" or "free money" before 9pm.
This all comes before a new trade body comes into play, next year. The Senet Group will start pushing an educational advertising campaign which hopes to tackle problem gambling and make sure that all TV adverts carry more prominent messages for responsible gambling.
It seems the word 'gambling' itself isn't enough of a clue to tell people that you are in fact, not certain of a win.
There's measures being considered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport who are looking at making it more difficult for people to place more than £50 on a roulette machine and the like. Until now, you could put £100 bets on one spin of a wheel. Politicians want to see a reduction of the minimum stake.
The biggest bookies that are ignoring all this are Betfred who will coin it in no doubt, until they're forced to sign up to something. They are, we're told, in 'discussions' about it all.
A Ladbrokes spokesman said: "This is about striking the balance between a player's right to bet and the visibility of gambling on the high street and on TV. We accept that the balance has not been right in the past."