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LB Redbridge revokes alcohol licensed gaming machine permit

The Council’s licensing sub-committee revoked the permit for 7 machines from a Wetherspoons pub following two failed test purchases when 16 year old police cadets were able to play the (over 18 only) category C gambling machines unchallenged.  The council had written to the pub in January after the first failure and yet during the repeat test in July the pub staff had not challenged the youngsters.

The sub-committee allowed the pub to keep its automatic entitlement to 2 machines as  the  pub advised that it was trialling pressure pads located in front of the machines which sent a signal to a senior member of staff when someone stood on it, so that they would go and check their age, in addition to have improved signage and training.

Further information is available in the papers for the sub-committee hearing

Wetherspoons have since submitted an appeal - the hearing date is yet to be arranged.

This is the first case of its kind and follows on from the Commission’s recent announcement that 84% of pubs in England and Wales are failing to prevent under 18-year-olds from playing Category C gaming machines, also known as fruit machines.

National strategy updates

If you are interested in signing up to the latest developments on the National Strategy please email communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk

Migrants are vulnerable to problem gambling

Ongoing studies, carried out by Dr Stephanie Bramley of King’s College London, have revealed that migrants can be more vulnerable to harm caused by problem gambling due to social isolation, culture shock, language difficulties and a lack of access to, or awareness of, help available.

Shift work itself was also a factor, with unsocial hours leading to casinos and betting shops being the only option when you come off shift. Location of work can be a factor too. Dr. Bramley used the example of migrants working in and around London's Chinatown, which has a lot of casinos. Equally coming from a place where gambling is forbidden or heavily restricted is another factor- having access on the high street could be too much of temptation.

Dr Bramley suggest that a community-based approach could be the best way to help migrants with problem gambling. She recommends trusted people or organizations in the community be educated on problem gambling and trained to spot the signs, so they can then more effectively communicate with the person in need, in their own language and sensitive to their culture.

GamCare launches new gambling related financial harm initiative

With 66% of callers to the national gambling helpline disclosing that they are have some level of debt, GamCare have brought together key sectors, including banking, debt advice, gambling treatment, and the gambling industry in a cross-sector approach to develop new initiatives and resources.

Overseen by an advisory panel, the project will generate:

  • a new best practice framework for identification of and support for customers in financial difficulty as a result of gambling;
  • a toolkit focused on supporting customer needs when in financial difficulty;
  • a new cross-sector training programme;
  • consistent and actively updated advice messaging.

PHE Gambling related harm evidence review

Public Health England  are carrying out an evidence review of the health aspects of gambling-related harm to inform action on prevention and treatment, as part of the follow up to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport-led review of gaming machines and social responsibility in 2018.

PHE’s objectives are

  1. To describe the prevalence of gambling and gambling-related harms in England by socio-demographic characteristics, geographical distribution and year.
  2. To identify the determinants of gambling and harmful gambling.
  3. To identify and describe the harms to individuals, families, communities, and wider societal harms associated with problematic and harmful gambling.
  4. To examine the social and economic burden of gambling-related harms.
  5. To gather stakeholder views on gambling-related harms in England.

A peer-reviewed report will be completed by Spring 2020.

Betting and Gaming Council launches new cooling off measures for machines

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), launched in November 2019, replaces the Remote Gambling Association, Association of British Bookmakers and the National Casino Forum.  It represents 90% of the UK betting and gaming industry (excluding lotteries) and comprises members who operate betting shops, online betting and gaming and casinos.  Michael Dugher, current CEO of UK Music, will join the BGC in March 2020 as CEO.

The BGC has introduced an Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS) on gaming machines in betting shops. APAS is a real time algorithm for machines which identifies areas of player behaviour that could indicate harmful play.  At a point of £250 spend or a 30 minute play, consumers will be faced with a 30 second break in play (cooling off time) and player messaging.  Staff will be simultaneously alerted allowing for a customer interaction where appropriate.

More banks enable customers to block gambling transactions

HSBC and Halifax are the latest banks to recognise their role in supporting customers to manage their money and gamble responsibly.  They have introduced measures intended to help problem gamblers from spending money with bookmakers and online casinos, joining the likes of Barclays, Santander, Lloyds and RBS who already have similar blocking features in place.

ASA finds house raffles ads misleading

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that entrants had been misled by the advertising by Raffle House, when the winner of its first competition received cash prize of less than 50% of the final profits instead of the London flat that had been advertised.

The Commission’s guidance  sets out the legal requirements on house raffles.


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