No matter what the gambling industry says about tight regulations, customer care and staff training, if I hadn't seen the lack of it during my gambling addiction then I certainly have now.
A lot of problem gamblers have reported that betting shop staff simply let them gamble all their money away and in the last year or so we have seen James Petherick (Diary of a compulsive gambler) expose how the betting shops self-exclusion policy simply does not work.
The gambling industry has always maintained that staff are given proper training to spot problem gamblers but from what I'v seen lately, no one really knows what the proper rules are!
I'v had my eyes on a facebook page lately, set up by betting shop staff who share their experiences at work and exchange a bit of friendly banter.
After speaking with a few betting shop staff out in the 'real world' , I learned that it indeed was hard for them to stop problem gamblers because betting shop staff are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They can't actually tell a customer to not put any more money into the machines and there really isn't a threshold for how much somebody can gamble in a certain period.
What raised the alarm bells for me though, was a post I read yesterday with one person asking "If someone wanted to load £1000 onto a machine using a business debit card, would you accept it?"
I have never read such confusion in my life! Nobody seemed to know.
It appears that some betting shops do, and some don't. But I was hearing people working for the same chains giving totally different answers such as "I do and it's fine" or "You can only put £200" or "no we never are allowed to do that".
It appears that staff training is brief, to a minimum and probably to help cut costs.
The other thing I noticed a long time back, was that betting shop staff in general hare their jobs and hate their customers, its true.
I don't think they are bad people, just maybe could do with seeing themselves as members of community. I feel that their general view is that all the people that come into their jobs are idiots, horrible and violent characters. But none of them seem to have put two and two together and realised that it is their very place of work doing it.
I think betting shop staff should learn to understand addiction a little bit, some of them do and some have lots of awareness. It's just a shame that they view the people coming into their betting shops as lowlife idiots, it's the gambling that does it!
That in itself goes to show what else the gambing industry creates, community division. These places aren't the hubs of your local communites, many of the staff on this group complain how a lot of their punters are smelly and unhygienic and play the machines all day.
Such a shame really!!! Here's how the conversation panned out. (Accidental cut the word 'debit' from initial status there!) The message is, is that no matter what rules are in place, they aren't really known properly.