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Renfrewshire MP backs local bookies

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Local MP Mhairi Black visited a Paisley betting shop this week to find out how the industry is working to promote responsible gambling.

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Mhairi Black with William Hill shop manager Gail McMillan.

Ms Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, was visiting the William Hill shop on Broomlands Street in the town where she met shop staff and representatives from ABB Scotland, the industry trade association, to find out more about measures to promote responsible gambling in betting shops. These include a nationwide multi-operator self exclusion scheme, new alerts on gaming machines and world leading technology that allows trained shop staff to monitor the behaviour of account based players, and intervene when customers get into difficulty.

The MP also heard how the industry employs 180 people in Renfrewshire and contributes £4 million in taxes and business rates.

Mhairi Black MP said: “I would like to thank Gail, and the other staff that I met at William Hill for their warm welcome.

“The meeting proved to be very informative, and I was pleased to note the level of care the staff in store provided to their customers. Staff, such as Gail, clearly play a much larger role in enforcing responsible gambling than many might expect.

“While there is much work to be done to stop gambling becoming a problem rather that a hobby, services such as self-exclusion demonstrate that bookies are making an effort to eliminate problem gambling.”

Donald Morrison of ABB Scotland said: “We were delighted to welcome Mhairi Black to William Hill in Paisley where we discussed a series of initiatives the industry has introduced in recent years to promote responsible gambling. As a result of these measures, high street betting shops are now the safest place to bet responsibly. They also help support our local economy, contributing around £4 million in taxes and business rates and supporting around 180 jobs in the Renfrewshire area alone.”

Earlier this month, the Gambling Commission published figures from the Scottish Health Survey which showed that the number of problem gamblers in Scotland fell to 0.7% in 2015 and is now lower than in 2012.

Mr Morrison added: “We are very encouraged by these figures, but not complacent. For the vast majority of people, betting is an enjoyable leisure experience. However, we are determined to do more to support the small number of people who get into difficulty.”