Gambling addicts still hooked on machines as bookies fail to enforce scheme

A government scheme that is meant to allow staff at betting shops to bar problem gamblers has drawn fresh criticism after an investigation found that addicts are still being allowed to bet.

An undercover reporter posing as a known problem gambler who should have been ejected from bookmakers when attempting to use fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) was asked to leave only two out of 21 betting shops.

The reporter had signed up to the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, a Gambling Commission initiative that helps problem gamblers by circulating their photograph and details to betting shops in the area where the gambler lives or works. This should ensure the gambler is not served in those businesses.

The exercise, carried out by BBC Five Live Investigates, raises questions over attempts by the gambling industry to discourage addicts. It was conducted in Grimsby, chosen because the Lincolnshire town has one of the highest concentrations of bookmakers in the UK.

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