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Guidance to operators for age verification test purchasing (non-remote)

This guidance explains what data we need from you about age verification test purchasing when you hold a non-remote operating licence.

Published: 20 January 2022

Last updated: 20 January 2022

This version was printed or saved on: 3 October 2022

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-to-operators-for-age-verification-test-purchasing-non-remote

Introduction

It is an offence under the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in a new tab) (Sections 48 and 49) for a young person to gamble or to enter gambling premises restricted to adults. It is also an offence for a person to invite or permit a young person or child to gamble or to enter age-restricted gambling premises (Gambling Act 2005 (Sections 46 and 47) (opens in a new tab).

For these reasons, and to reinforce our role to protect children and young people from gambling-related harm, we require licensees to put in place effective age verification policies and procedures.

We also require operators to carry out age verification test purchasing. This is one method by which we assure that that an operator’s age verification policies and procedures are effective.

This page provides a summary of our:

Summary of non-remote age verification test purchase requirements within the Licencing Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP)

This section provides a summary of our age verification test purchasing requirements for holders of non-remote gambling operating licences. They are taken from our Licencing Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP).

The following requirement applies to all casino operators, bingo, betting, adult gaming centre (AGC) and family entertainment centre (FEC) operators in fee category C and above.

"Licensees must conduct test purchasing or take part in collective test purchasing programmes as a means of providing reasonable assurance that they have effective policies and procedures to prevent underage gambling, and must provide their test purchase results to the Commission, in such form or manner as the Commission may from time to time specify."

The relevant Social Responsibility codes are:

Additionally, the following ordinary code provision applies to AGC, bingo, betting and FEC operators in fee categories A or B:

"Licensees in fee categories A or B should consider how they monitor the effectiveness of their policies and procedures for preventing underage gambling (for example by taking part in a collective test purchasing programme) and should be able to explain to the Commission or licensing authority what approach they have adopted".

The relevant Ordinary Codes are:

Guidance on conducting age verification test purchasing

General guidance on age verification test purchasing is as follows:

Guidance on recording and submitting age verification test purchasing results data

Licensees required to conduct age verification test purchasing must send us annual returns listing the aggregated results of age verification test purchasing they, or organisations contracted by them, have conducted each quarter.

Returns must be submitted using a templated MS Excel Open XML format spreadsheet, a blank copy of which can be downloaded below. Completed spreadsheets are to be submitted to testpurchaseresults@gamblingcommission.gov.uk within 42 days of the end of each UK financial year (i.e. by 12 May for the year ending 31 March).

Operators who hold multiple operating licences in different gambling sectors (i.e. AGC, betting, bingo, casino and/or FEC) must send us separate results spreadsheets for each operating licence they hold.

We only require licensees to send us basic results data (i.e. the volume of tests, by result type). But we expect them to record other information, such as the addresses of premises, the relevant local authority area, appropriate time of day a test took place (morning, afternoon, evening) and, where failures occurred, the results of retests. This additional information should be held by the licensee and made available for inspection should we, or a local authority, request it.

Licensees in fee categories C or above are responsible for submitting their own test purchase results to us directly (i.e. not via trade bodies or third-party age verification test purchasing suppliers). For licensees in fee categories A or B, we will accept submissions on their behalf by trade bodies, so long as the results are presented in the spreadsheet format below and are clearly identified at licensee level. Trade body submissions must not include any data for licensees in fee categories C or above. We will not accept submissions by third-party age verification test purchasing suppliers for any fee category.

We use age verification test purchase data to assure ourselves that age verification test purchasing is being carried out by licensees and to assess the effectiveness of age verification policies and procedures on a licensee, sector, and industry-wide basis.

Other age verification related reporting requirements

Licensees must tell us when a child or young person repeatedly attempts to gamble on premises restricted to adults. See LCCP notification (repeated attempts by children or young people to gamble).

They also need to report to us any offences under Sections 46, 47, 48 and 49 of the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in a new tab), in accordance with LCCP Licence conditions 15.1.1 (Reporting suspicion of offences etc – non-betting licences) and 15.1.2 (Reporting suspicion of offences etc – betting licences).

Operators must also tell us about the total number of ‘People who have gambled who were unable to verify their age’ as part of their business’s regulatory return.