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Prosecutions and new conditions for operators failing age tests

24 March 2016

Independent gambling operators have been prosecuted and had new conditions attached to their premises licences to strengthen underage gambling controls.

Local authorities across the country conducted a programme of test purchasing in 2015 in partnership with the Gambling Commission and failures were seen at bookmakers, arcades and premises with gaming machines.

Blackpool Council prosecuted two arcades after each failed a second age test – the two operators were ordered to pay a total of £2,000 in fines and costs.

Hastings Borough Council cautioned the operator of an arcade in a holiday park and Bracknell Forest Council issued warnings following a testing operation in which underage testers were able to play adult-only gaming machines in two pubs and a bowling alley.

In Sandwell, the council warned a bookmaker after two premises failed tests.

East Lindsey District Council reviewed the licence of an arcade operator after it failed two age tests. Conditions added to its licence included:

  • a requirement for the licensee to have a Think 21 policy
  • monthly test purchasing for 12 months
  • extra training for supervisory staff
  • CCTV to be installed and continually monitored.

Paul Hope, Gambling Commission consumer policy programme director, said: “The actions that licensing authorities have taken against gambling premises show that operators cannot afford to be complacent. They need to remember that where weaknesses persist regulators will also consider other sanctions such as licence suspension or revocation.”

The Commission plans to carry out more test purchasing operations with local authority partners in 2016 and these tests will be conducted in line with its approach to test purchasing (PDF).

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Last updated: 20 August 2021

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