DURSLEY’S only bookmaker is retiring after 38 years in the gambling business.

Maurice Ball is to retire at the end of July and is selling the lease of his store to national betting company Coral as he decides to call it quits.

The Dursley born and bred former milkman and pub landlord started in the world of betting, quite fittingly, by chance, when the owner of his local betting shop in Bull Pitch offered him the lease when a family emergency arose.

“I had never run a betting shop before but he asked if I would take it on and that’s how it started,” he said.

The 67-year-old would eventually buy another betting shop on Long Street and then the current one on Castle Street and would run two more in Cirencester and Cainscross.

But now all that is left is Maurice Ball Bookmakers and with the rise of internet gambling, Mr Ball, who now lives in Uley, said it was time to cash in his chips.

“Falling trade and rising costs, the two do not match I am afraid,” he said.

“Apart from that I am just of retiring age and I think it is time. I always said I didn’t want to retire but the nearer it gets the more I like the idea of it.”

The former landlord of the Kings Head in Dursley and Old Crown pub in Uley said he would miss the store and had fond memories and stories from his time, including when one of his regulars won £6,750 by accidentally betting on the wrong horse.

“I shall be very sorry to leave because it’s been my life for a long time. I have had a wonderful set of loyal customers,” he said.

“I will miss the people because you interact and someone always has a tale to tell, I shall miss that.

“I hope I will see plenty of my old customers in passing. I might even come in and have a bet.”

Mr Hall, who has six children between him and his wife Maria, 67, said he was considering volunteering at Uley Community Stores and was looking forward to playing more golf and spending more time with his garden and family.