Staying Safe When Lone Working in a Betting Shop -Top 5 Tips

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Staying Safe When Lone Working in a Betting Shop -Top 5 Tips

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Staying safe when lone working in a betting shop is important as the industry is a high-risk category for robberies. It seems like a bookies robbery is in the news every week in recent times which has led to a call for increased security and the question asked – should anyone be lone working in a betting shop at all?

However, realistically it isn’t always possible for many businesses to have two staff working and lone working does still happen. This article in the Guardian tells the tragic story of a betting shop worker who was killed and some great background information on betting shops, and the occurrence of lone working.

Let’s have a look at some of the risks associated with working in a betting shop and then at our top 5 tips to reduce them.

What Are the Hazards of Lone Working in a Betting Shop?

Working alone in a betting shop has a similar risk profile to lone working in retail but carries a higher risk due to the occurrence of robberies. Let’s have a look at some specific risks:


In a betting shop, you encounter different types of customer. Of course, the majority of people who use betting shops are no risk but tensions can run high with some customers. Consider that people may potentially be losing money and winning. Emotions can run high with some customers and there is also a chance of encountering customers who have had a drink. The risk of assault, verbal or physical can occur for a number of reasons – disputes over bets or simply because people are annoyed they have a lot of money.


The biggest risk to bookmakers is the threat of robbery. Thieves can target cash from behind the counter or bandit machines. It is commonly known that bookies are usually single manned and have high volumes of cash on site, this is what makes them attractive to criminals. Robberies can be threatening or actually violent and criminals will often come prepared with weapons to assists them.

Top 5 Tips for Retail Lone Worker Safety

There are some steps you can take to improve the safety of your staff.

1) Install security screens

Similar to banks, betting shops can use screens to protect their staff from assault. Staff will still have to come out from behind counters but having a protective screen offers a safe place to escape to and reduced the risk of over counter assaults.

2) Supply and use lone worker fobs

Lone worker fobs  are fantastic at protecting lone workers in betting shops. They can be worn discreetly or even installed as an app on a smartphone. If the bookmaker feels threatened, they can push the SOS button and there will be a trained operator listening in at the other end who can assess the situation and get the police to the scene. Because we have Unique Reference Numbers with the police, we will be able to command a level 1, emergency response, which means they will be there faster than if they were requested via 999.

3) Consider a two man policy

It isn’t always possible but having two members of staff working at all times vastly reduced the risk of issues arising. Carry out a risk assessment and consider employing two people to look after shops. This is especially important at opening and closing time – often the time robberies are most likely to occur.

Whilst having two members of staff isn’t going to completely get rid of the risks, two people will act as a deterrent to criminals and help staff to be able to monitor the shop and nip potential hostile situations in the bud.

4) Behind desk cameras

Staff working in betting shops often have many areas to monitor – front doors, fruit machines and customers. This can involve staff having to come out from behind the counter – leaving both themselves and the counter at risk. Installing security monitors behind the counters mean staff can stay behind the desk and monitor the shop.

5) Train your staff in first aid and self-defence

Of course, it isn’t possible to completely erase the risks of working in a betting shop so should the worst happen, you want your staff to be well prepared. Ensure staff have adequate training to be able to protect themselves and others. As a minimum, first aid training and personal safety self-defence are a good call.

Contact Us

If you run a betting shop or work in one and are concerned about lone working pick up the phone and talk to us.

First2HelpYou have many customers and years of experience in the bookmaking industry and are happy to offer advice. We also have a range of practical lone worker solutions.

Get in touch here or give us a call on 0333 7729401

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