I recently visited the Ladbrokes shop in Ashton in Makerfield to learn more about the betting and gaming industry, the issues affecting the sector and its employees, and to take part in a charity bet.
Ladbrokes is the world’s largest retail bookmaker, with over 2,000 shops employing 14,000 people in the UK alone and an important online presence. However, the industry maintains it has suffered from increasing tax levels, under-regulated offshore competition and misperceptions held by many who may never have visited a betting shop.
During my visit I was shown the wide variety of betting and gaming activities available, met the staff and customers and asked questions about responsible gambling procedures and the safety of Ladbrokes staff who could be targeted by criminals, due to the large sums of cash held on the premises. At the end of the visit Ladbrokes offered me a free £50 bet which I placed on Wigan to win this year’s Super League Grand Final with odds of 11/8 with the winnings being donated to Age Concern – Wigan.
It was an extremely interesting visit to see how everything actually works. MPs regularly make decisions that impact upon this industry and its many jobs, so it is important that our judgements are well informed and based on factual information. I also wanted to learn about the procedures for dealing with underage or problem gambling, and the safety of staff.
I am grateful to Ladbrokes for offering me the free charity bet and I just hope that the pressure I have placed upon the Warriors doesn’t affect the team’s performance on the pitch as we enter the play-offs!