‘Do whatever it takes to keep gamblers betting’

Staff should do “absolutely anything” to make gamblers feel comfortable in betting shops, a BBC investigation has learned.

A former manager at betting shop Coral said staff were told to give players refreshments as soon as they entered the shop and even encouraged to get the gamblers lunch.

The investigation also found store managers were under pressure to hit targets on addictive betting machines called Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).

‘Don’t waste time’

Coral rejected the allegations and claimed problem gambling rates had fallen since the introduction of FOBTs.

In the investigation for the Victoria Derbyshire programme, former manager ‘John’ explained the levels staff went to to make the gamblers stay in the shops.

He said an area manager had suggested that “if we had a customer coming in their lunch hour, we had to make sure they didn’t waste time trying to get a cheese and ham roll instead of playing the machines”.

“You could go out there, buy them a cheese and ham roll and get it ready for them”, John continued.

No training

The former manager also said he knew of another firm where staff wages were based on how much money was made on the FOBTs.

A unnamed woman who also works in a betting shop told the BBC she had not been trained to deal with problem gamblers.

“All we have is a leaflet and are told to give them out if we feel people have a problem.”

Coral said it takes its ‘commitment to responsible gambling extremely seriously’, and that training is in place to “ensure that potential problem gamblers are identified and protected”.


Last year, FOBTs were blamed for the high rise in reported crime at betting shops across the country.

One incident involved a gambler in the Midlands losing £5,000 in one afternoon on an FOBT, then using his last £5 to purchase a claw hammer to vandalise the machines.

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