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Gambler banned from bookies for winning too much
John Harrison, (holding letter) outside William Hill bookmakers in London Road, Brighton, with his friends
A GAMBLER claims he has been banned from a high street bookmakers because he wins too much.
John Harrison, 56, of Canfield Road, Brighton, received a letter from William Hill asking him not to return to any of the firm’s shops across the country.
Mr Harrison believes he received the letter, titled Trading Review Notice, because he has proven to be a profitable punter at the company’s London Road branch in Brighton.
He said: “I used to be a mug gambler, giving away my wages every week. But it’s only since I’ve become good at what I do on horses and dogs that I’ve been told I’m not allowed back in the shop.
“They don’t want winners. I’ve done nothing wrong apart from showing a consistent level of profit through my betting and they don’t like that.”
The letter, sent on May 19, said the firm “no longer wishes to accept” Mr Harrison’s bets following a “review of trading arrangements”.
It continues: “In the event that you succeed in gambling with us, we reserve the right to make any such bet void.”
A spokesman from William Hill said Mr Harrison was not banned because he showed a profit, but for “other reasons” they declined to reveal.
Mr Harrison, who claims he gambles professionally, said: “There are no other reasons other than they don’t want winning customers. I don’t play with huge stakes.
“But even when I try and put £50 on a horse in the shop they have to call up their traders and check it’s OK.
“They come back and then tell me I can only have £2 or something silly. But now I’ve been banned entirely.”
Mr Harrison said bookmaker’s shops had “now become arcades” and bookmakers preferred people playing virtual roulette on Fixed Odd Betting Terminal (FOBT) machines instead.
He added: “That’s why they don’t take bets anymore. They’d rather people waste their wages on the machines than take normal bets on the football, horses or dogs”.
Matt Zarb-Cousin, of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: “Betting used to be the punter versus the bookie, but now bookmakers are fixated on FOBTs: fixed margin casino machines where, in the long run, the house always wins.
“They don’t want anyone gambling with them who has a chance of even breaking even – let alone winning – which is why they place restrictions on over the counter bets, or ban winning customers.
“Under law gambling has to be fair and open, but the truth about how bookmakers operate today has been withheld from politicians for too long.”
A spokesman from William Hill said: “It’s nothing to do with showing profit. Mr Harrison and his friends are not the type of people we want in our shops.”
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