Betting firms roll the dice on self-policing problem gambling

Companies bet creation of own watchdog will appease Government

The country’s biggest gambling companies will this week bet heavily on self-regulation, highlighting the steps they have taken to protect customers in danger of developing gambling problems including a mandatory time limit on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

The betting companies, hit by a raft of tax increases and growing political scrutiny over the past two years, have also bankrolled a new watchdog named the Senet Group and will this week cover their 8,000 shop fronts with messages about betting responsibly as part of an industry-wide “gamble aware week”.

Ladbrokes, Gala Coral, Paddy Power and William Hill will also put into place previously promised limits on FOBTs, described by campaigners as the “crack cocaine” of gambling. At the start of a session on a terminal, players will be prompted to set their own time or money limit. Even if they choose not to do so, the machine will show a short warning after 30 minutes of use, or once a play racks up losses of £250.

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