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On-course betting operators are being warned that they must do more to prevent underage gambling after every track bookmaker approached in a test purchasing operation served a 16-year-old without asking for proof of age. People must be 18 or over to place bets at a racecourse.

The tests were undertaken at Ascot on 20 June 2014 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 the track licensee Ascot Racecourse Limited.

Commission Director Matthew Hill 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 on-course bookmakers who failed this test have been advised about their conduct and required to improve their policies and procedures for preventing under age gambling.

The Commission is reminding all gambling operators of their responsibility to ensure children and young persons are not permitted to gamble.

The Commission will continue to work with local authorities to test on-course bookmakers and other gambling operators as part of its rolling programme of testing.

Notes to editors

  1. The Gambling Commission (the Commission) regulates gambling in the public interest alongside its co-regulators local licensing authorities. 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. Subject to these overriding public protection objectives, as regulator of the National Lottery the Commission monitors and challenges Camelot to raise the maximum amount for good causes. The Commission also provides independent advice to government on gambling in Britain. 
  2. The Commission and local licensing authorities are responsible for licensing and regulating all gambling in Great Britain other than spread betting, which is the responsibility of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  3. See the Terms & Conditions section of our website for information on legal advice.

For further information please contact our press office on (0121) 230 6700 or email communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Posted on 02 July 2014