Responsible Gambling

Gambling is a popular leisure activity enjoyed by more than two thirds of Scots. The vast majority of customers gamble responsibly and have the right to spend their leisure time and money as they choose. But it is right too that the gambling industry takes steps to support the small number of customers who are at risk. This is a responsibility we take extremely seriously.

In 2016, our members introduced a series of new responsible gambling measures including a nationwide multi-operator self-exclusion scheme that allows gamblers to exclude themselves from all betting shops in their area, developing world leading technology that allows our trained staff to monitor account based players, helping to identify those at risk of problem gambling at an early stage, and signposting customers to free support and confidential counselling services.

As result of these and other measures, betting shops now offer the most robust system of protection for customers.

Creating a safe gambling environment

  • No gaming machine advertising in shop windows

  • Limit setting on all gaming machines

  • World leading technology to monitor player behaviour

  • 5000 staff trained to spot signs of harm and intervene

  • National multi operator self exclusion scheme

Problem gambling in Scotland is low by international standards and has remained statistically stable, accoroding to the independent Gambling Commission. Nevertheless, our members will continue to work with local authorities and other partners to ensure that Scotland continues to gamble responsilbly. 

Tackling crime and anti social behaviour

Our members have a zero tolerance approach to crime and anti-social behaviour. We want to ensure everyone visiting our shops has a safe and fun experience. We work together with various agencies to share intelligence on crime and anti-social behaviour through a National Bookmakers Forum, chaired by Police Scotland. This industry wide body has proved extremely effective in reducing betting related crime. As a result, betting shops are now among the safest retail outlets on our high street, accounting for just 1.34% of recorded retail crimes between April and September 2016 (source: Police Scotland).

Leading the way on responsible play

Betting shops are leading the effort to reduce problem gambling. As this table illustrates, there is now a widening gap between our active commitment to responsible gambling and the slugging response of other gambling providers.

Campaign first for ABB Scotland

A new responsible gambling initiative has been held in Inverness, the first of its kind in Scotland.

Funded by ABB Scotland and supported by bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes, as well as local charities and community groups, the week long campaign centred on a particular neighbourhood in the city, Merkinch. Betting shops in the area carried responsible gambling messages and counselling support was offered for anyone concerned about their gambling activity. A presentation on the risks associated with problem gambling was also made to local secondary school pupils.

It’s the first time a campaign has focused on a particular neighbourhood. ABB Scotland now intends to roll out similar initiatives across Scotland. More info >

Young people and gambling

Almost 3000 young people in Scotland have participated in a schools project designed to highlight the risk associated with problem gambling. The project was funded by ABB and delivered by independent charity RCA Trust. Over six months, the charity took their responsible gambling message to schools and youth groups across the west of Scotland. ABB intends to continue and expand the campaign to include Edinburgh.

Providing support and advice

The vast majority of people gamble for fun, only spending what they can afford. However, we understand that some customers can get into difficulty. Help is available – both from our specially trained shop staff and from confidential support groups.

Self exclusion
In April 2016, high street betting shops launched a multi-operator self exclusion scheme. Under the scheme, anyone who feels they may be developing a problem can call a telephone hotline to select the shops, or even entire areas, from which they wish to be excluded for a minimum of six months. Typically, this could be shops within the areas where they live, work or socialise.

Once the customer has provided the photo ID needed to complete the process, the details are sent to the relevant shops.
Call 0800 294 2060 or go online for more information.

Self exclusion is working well for the majority of customers according to a study. In a survey of customers, the charity Gamble Aware found that 83% felt it had been effective in reducing or stopping their gambling activity and 71% said they had not attempted to use any of their nominated betting shops since joining the scheme.

Learn how to take control of your gambling with Opt-in >

 Need confidential help and advice?

GambleAware can help you to find out more about gambling safely and how to gamble responsibly, to understand and recognise problem gambling, and show you where to go for further information, help and support should you need it. You can call the freephone National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 seven days a week, from 8am to midnight, or visit for more information. You can also have a live online chat with a counsellor.

The following organisations can also help provide advice and support:

GamCare >
When the Fun Stops, Stop >
Young Gamblers Education Trust >
National Problem Gambling Clinic
Gamblers Anonymous Scotland >
Addictions Counselling Inverness >
RCA Trust (Renfrewshire) >
Gam Anon Scotland >

Money Advice Scotland >

Please note ABB is not responsible for the content of third party websites.

ABB Scotland e-bulletin

ABB Scotland produces a quarterly e-bulletin where you can keep up to date with our latest news, responsible gambling initiatives and opinion columns. The e-bulletin is available to individuals and organisations with an interest in the betting industry. To join our mailing list, simply enter your address below.

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