In the United Kingdom, the Association of British Bookmakers in Scotland is reportedly set to partner with leading sportsbetting operators Ladbrokes and William Hill to launch a responsible gambling education program in the northern Scottish city of Inverness.
According to a report from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the proliferation of bookmakers in the working-class Merkinch district of Inverness has been a concern ever since William Hill was given permission to open the neighborhood’s third outlet in 2013. The decision was heavily criticized by For the Right Reasons, which is a local charity that offers support to recovering drug addicts, as it meant that the small area now offers around 30% of all the sportsbetting outlets in the city of approximately 47,000 inhabitants.
The BBC reported that the coming program will see the Association of British Bookmakers in Scotland work with the charity and the operators and fund a campaign that will see posters and leaflets printed in English and Polish offering advice on how to gamble responsibly along with information on how to seek help.
“Problem gambling in Scotland is low but it is an issue we take extremely seriously,” Donald Morrison from the Association of British Bookmakers in Scotland told the BBC. “Projects like this help to raise awareness about the support networks that exist for people with problems. I would encourage anyone with concerns about gambling, regardless of where and how they gamble, to take advantage of the counselling support available either in person or by calling the National Gambling Helpline.”
The scheme is to also reportedly to involve the provision on Thursday and Friday of free confidential one-to-one support sessions at the Merkinch Welfare Hall open to any resident of Inverness while counsellors are to moreover make a presentation concerning the risks associated with problem gambling to senior pupils at Inverness High School.
“We have had tremendous logistical support for this initiative from local community groups, particularly For the Right Reasons, and I am extremely grateful for the contribution they have made,” Morrison told the BBC. “This is the first project of its kind in Scotland and we hope we can roll out similar initiatives in neighborhoods and communities across Scotland.”