Betting shop cashiers and managers accept bets from customers and pay out winnings. They are expected to create a light-hearted and relaxed atmosphere by getting to know their customers and their interests to encourage them to return.
Betting odds are the chances of winning set against the chances of losing. They are shown as one number over another, eg 3/1 or 5/2.
Customers may bet on:
A cashier's duties may include:
A betting shop manager is responsible for:
Both roles can be busy. There is often a rush of bets to be placed just before the cut-off point, as the start of a race or game approaches.
Nowadays betting odds and winning are calculated by computers, but workers need basic maths skills to understand betting odds, take bets and pay out wins accurately.
The betting industry is regulated by the Gambling Commission. All betting shops must follow conditions and codes to ensure they follow the law. For instance, staff must take steps to prevent money laundering, and to deal with people who may have a problem with gambling.
Most betting shops are open seven days a week, all year round, from around 9am or 10am to 10pm.
Cashiers may work around 35 to 40 hours a week and managers may work longer hours. There are usually opportunities for part-time work, although this may be easier for cashiers than managers.
The busiest day of the week is usually Saturday. Most employees will be required to work some Saturdays and Sundays as part of a rota system. Employers may offer overtime or time off in lieu for weekend work.
Nowadays most betting shops are modern retail environments with colourful designs, air conditioning, comfortable seating and screens for viewing spots events.
Staff may wear a uniform or be expected to follow a smart dress code.
Betting shop cashiers may earn between £10,500 and £14,000 for a full-time role.
Salaries for shop managers range from around £15,000 to £30,000. An area manager covering 100 shops could earn £45,000, plus bonuses.
Betting shops are found in towns and cities across the country. There are around 8,800 shops in the UK, employing over 40,000 people.
Most shops are branches of large chains, but some are independently owned. There are also some small bookmaking businesses based on racecourses.
Online betting is growing, but betting shops still make a significant contribution to overall profits.
Vacancies are usually advertised in local press, or in the shop windows of betting shops. Some are found on the larger operators' websites, on specialist websites and in Racing Post.
Betting shop staff must be at least 18 years old.
There are no set qualifications for betting shop cashiers. However, number skills are important and some employers may expect a GCSE (A*-C) in maths. They also look for an engaging personality and customer service skills.
Previous experience in a customer service or retail environment can be useful. Some larger employers offer management training programmes. Applicants for manager posts are usually expected to have betting shop experience. Many large companies promote existing staff to management positions.
The University of Salford offers a degree, foundation degree and MSc in gambling and leisure management through its Centre for the Study of Gambling, which also undertakes research.
Entry requirements to courses vary, but are usually:
For a foundation degree, one A level and three GCSEs (A*-C), or equivalent.
For a degree, two A levels and five GCSEs (A*-C), or equivalent qualifications.
For a postgraduate MSc, a good first degree (2:1 or above).
Candidates should check with individual universities for exact entry requirements. Those without the usual entry qualifications can take an Access course.
New entrants learn on the job. Most larger employers offer comprehensive skills training, covering:
Betting shop staff may work towards qualifications, such as:
There are also qualifications in customer service.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
Betting shop staff need:
In addition, betting shop managers need:
The usual progression is from cashier or customer service assistant to shop manager.
Managers may seek promotion to area management positions, looking after a group of shops within a geographical area. Regional managers may oversee a larger group of shops across a wider area. Managers with responsibility for more than 50 shops are likely to need a Gambling Commission personal licence.
Larger bookmakers have supervisory and management roles in their head offices and call centres.
There are some opportunities to work with national regulatory bodies, such as the Gambling Commission.
It is possible to become self-employed as a bookmaker or independent betting shop owner. Special regulations apply to the gaming industry, so it is important to seek detailed advice first.
Association of British Bookmakers,
Norris House, 4 Norris Street, London SW1Y 4RJ
Tel: 020 7434 2111
Centre for the Study of Gambling,
Maxwell Building, University of Salford, Salford,
Greater Manchester M5 4WT
Tel: 0161 295 5000
Gambling Commission, Victoria Square House,
Victoria Square, Birmingham B2 4BP
Tel: 0121 230 6666
People 1st, 2nd Floor, Armstrong House,
38 Market Square, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1LH
Tel: 01895 857000
Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB),
16 St Martin's le Grand, St Paul's, London EC1A 4EN
Tel: 020 7397 8710
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.