Anne McTaggart MSP has called on the Scottish Government to help end lone-staffing in betting shops across Scotland.
Speaking in a Members Debate on gambling proliferation, Anne McTaggart MSP noted that changes in working practice in Ladbrokes, a well-known high street betting shop, has meant that lone staffing is commonplace in its stores. Worryingly, workers can be left to work alone in betting stores for hours at a time, often very early in the morning or late at night.
Ms McTaggart believes the Scottish Government should work with trade unions such as Community union, the only union representing betting shop workers across all the major and independent betting shop chains in Scotland, to put more pressure on betting shops operating in Scotland to provide safe environments for their workers, and thinks that ending lone-working in betting shops is a step towards achieving that goal.
Anne McTaggart said: “With over 55% of betting shop workers being women, there are concerns to be raised about how appropriate lone-working is for betting shops – particularly as a store staffed by one person makes the store more vulnerable to attacks. No-one should feel frightened to go to their place of work.”
“The Scottish Government should work more closely with the STUC and trade unions such as Community Union to raise more awareness on the violence that betting shop workers are subjected to, and ensure that betting shops are providing the level of support their staff require to feel safe in their place of work.”
Ms McTaggart also agreed that there are far too many bookies on our high-streets: and that they are targeting the most vulnerable in our society.
Ms McTaggart said; “It is a serious concern of mine that the amount of betting shops, and their locations nearby pubs and ATM machines, is luring new customers off of our high streets and through their doors – particularly young people.
“I am pleased that a question on gambling has been included in the latest Scottish Health Survey, and look forward to hearing the findings later this year when the report is published.”