Mystery shopping tests continue - July 2009
Date: 31 July
The Gambling Commission (the Commission) carries out a rolling
programme of mystery shopping exercises as part of its ongoing
compliance programme. The programme looks at various aspects of
social responsibility and the Commission will be retesting betting
operators who have previously been found wanting in the near
In May 2009 a mystery shopping exercise undertaken by the
Commission throughout England revealed a disturbing failure
rate. The exercise covered all the major betting operators,
accounting for around 80% of betting shops, and the initial results
showed that in 98 of the 100 shops visited a 17 year old was
allowed to place a bet at the counter.
As a result senior executives at the companies
involved were called in and asked to take immediate action to
improve matters. The operators concerned have already taken
significant action to address the situation including working with
the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) to produce an action
plan and supplementary code of practice on age verification. We
also wrote to all other betting operators to highlight our concerns
over the results.
The Commission will be conducting mystery
shopping exercise at a number of licensed betting operator’s
premises in the near future. These exercises will revisit operators
already tested and also test a number of smaller betting operators.
As part of our ongoing programme, the Commission is planning a
similar exercise on Adult Gaming Centres. It is our intention to
notify and involve the respective local authorities in the areas
where the mystery shopping will be conducted.
Notes to editors
The Gambling Commission
- 1. The Gambling Commission (the Commission) regulates gambling
in the public interest. It does so by keeping crime out of
gambling, by ensuring that gambling is conducted fairly and openly,
and by protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed
or exploited by gambling. The Commission also provides independent
advice to government on gambling in Britain.
- 2. The Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating
all gambling in Great Britain other than the National Lottery and
spread betting, which are the responsibility of the National
Lottery Commission and the Financial Services Authority (FSA)
- 3. The rolling programme of mystery shopping exercises is
one feature of the Commission’s ongoing compliance activity.
It covers on line gambling, betting shops and AGCs and we work
closely with LACORS and individual local authorities to ensure
- 4. The mystery shopping exercises use under age
volunteers (with parental consent) as permitted under Section 64 of
the Gambling Act 2005 to assess whether effective controls are in
place to prevent under age gambling.
- Further information is available from the Commission's website
- You can also call John Travers on (0121) 230 6700, (07852)
124624 or email via firstname.lastname@example.org