William Hill gambling addict smashes up betting shops

Aug 18, 2017 9:16 AM

In England, a self-described gambling addict who smashed up television screens and gaming machines in William Hill betting shops in Liverpool received a 12-month suspended jail term after admitting seven counts of criminal damage. 

Eric Baptista, 29, was ordered not to go within 32 ft. of any William Hill betting shop for five years. He was also ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid community service work.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Baptista used a hammer to destroy screens and gaming machines with at several William Hill locations in Liverpool during three weeks last May.

Baptista told police he is a gambling addict and had lost large sums of money to the William Hill betting shop chain. He said he was angry over the losses and alleged that the staff is not trained to deal with problem gamblers.

The CPS said he told workers in the betting shops, "This is a protest. I am sorry; there is no safety net for customers.” Baptista is reportedly in a rehabilitation program for his addiction, and has not been to a betting shop in recent months.