UK Gambling Commission issues on-course underage betting warning

4 July 2014

The UK Gambling Commission has urged on-course betting operators to do more to prevent underage gambling after every track operator approached during a recent test purchasing operation served a 16-year-old person without asking for proof of age.

The regulatory body carried out the tests on June 20 at Ascot Racecourse, one of the UK’s most prestigious horseracing venues.

Tests were undertaken under the supervision of trained officers from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and supported by a Gambling Commission compliance manager with cooperation from track licensee Ascot Racecourse Limited.

UK laws prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from placing bets at a racecourse.

The on-course bookmakers that failed the test have been advised about their conduct and are now required to improve their policies and procedures for preventing underage gambling in the future.

The Gambling Commission used the test as an opportunity to remind all operators of their responsibility to ensure that children and young people are not permitted to gamble.

Matthew Hill, director of the Gambling Commission, said: “This was a pretty poor result. Preventing under 18s from gambling is one of the most basic obligations every bookmaker has, on or off the course.

“The industry must do better or operators are likely to find themselves facing formal sanctions.”

The Gambling Commission added that it will continue to work alongside local authorities to test on-course bookmakers and other gambling operators as part of its ongoing programme of testing.

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