Steve McCabe MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak visited his local Ladbrokes shop in Stirchley, ahead of one of its busiest weekends of the year.
The Grand National, which takes place tomorrow, is the world’s most famous steeplechase and is watched by an estimated 600 million people across 140 countries. It’s also estimated that around half the entire UK adult population place a bet on the race. Steve met with the Ladbrokes area manager, Craig Marston to find out how local shops are gearing up for the big event. He also got the opportunity to place a free £50 bet on the Grand National, with any winnings going to Steve’s chosen charity, the Acorns Children’s Hospice. After carefully examining the odds, studying previous form and choosing the most entertaining name, Steve decided to place his bet on The Last Samurai.
Craig explained how his staff are encouraging customers to gamble responsibly and to help those who develop gambling problems access the help they need. Staff are now trained to identify regular customers who may be developing a problem with their gambling and can offer a range of options to help them get their gambling back under control. This can include setting up deposit limits and time controls on their betting or offering practical advice about how to bring their gambling back under control. As well as taking measures on the shop floor Craig explained how the company’s Social Responsibility Board Committee is encouraging responsible gambling at the Boardroom level and has produced a set of Key Performance Indicator that links executive remuneration with responsible gambling performance. Craig also explained how along with other local shops Ladbrokes are working with local food banks to donate food and money.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“I’m not really a gambling man but events like the Grand National bring millions together who may not ordinarily have any interest in horse racing or betting. While millions of people do enjoy gambling responsibly, for a small number of people, gambling can cause personal, social, and financial problems and it’s encouraging to see shops taking steps to make self-exclusion easier. I would encourage anyone that is going to place a bet this weekend to make sure you only bet what you can afford to lose and make sure you keep it fun.”
Whilst the majority of people do gamble within their means: for some, gambling can become a problem. If you have questions or concerns about your own gambling or about a friend or family member, a good place to start is the National Gambling Helpline on Freephone 0808 8020 133.