Preventative measures required from pubs across the UK

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The Gambling Commission (UKGC) was startled by the results on spot checks in England, that has led to the executive director enforcement of the Gambling Commission, to pen a letter to the trade association.

Preventative Measures Required from Pubs

Working closely with local police forces and licensing authorities, the UKGC tested a sample of pubs across England, which saw almost a 90% failure in preventing children accessing 18+ rated gambling machines. Legislation clearly states that children should not be playing Category C gaming machines in pubs and staff are expected to stop this! Category C gaming machines have a maximum stake of £1 and a minimum prize-payout of £100.

Recently, at the Institute of Licensing National Conference, the Programme Director; Helen Rhodes announced her shock at the findings; “We are extremely concerned that pubs across England are failing to stop children playing gaming machines designed for adults. We urgently call on the pub sector to take action immediately to enforce the laws in place to protect children and young people. We expect to see significant improvement in further tests and will continue to work with licensing authorities to support any action required against those failing to adhere to the requirements.”

As a result, a letter was drafted and sent to all the pubs across the country, in a bid to tackle the problem.

Protecting the Children

The letter penned started with; “In June 2018 the Gambling Commission (the Commission) set out further commitments to protecting children and young people from the dangers of gambling, building on work already underway in this area.”

It continued; “The Commission asked its expert advisers the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) for specific advice on the critical theme of children, young people and gambling. Bringing together existing work and acting on the advice provided by the RGSB, the Commission’s strengthened focus seeks to ensure the right protections are in place to reduce the risk of harm to children and young people.”

“The Commission called for all those responsible for safeguarding children, to work together with the Commission to address the wide range of issues identified in RGSB’s advice. Amongst the actions identified was the need to address access and exposure to gambling by children and young people.”

“The Commission has therefore been working in conjunction with licensing authorities across England for the last six months to test the compliance of pubs with the requirement to prevent under 18s playing on Category C machines. These exercises were led by licensing authorities (and trading standards staff) or police officers who had volunteered their resources to work with the Commission. The interim results are sufficiently concerning that we consider it to be in the public interest to release them immediately. The current failure rate is 89% based on 61 tests. This compares to a pass rate of 70 – 85% for most age restricted products such as alcohol or tobacco. (Source: Serve Legal.)”

There were many other paragraphs highlighting the concerns, but the following section was highlighted in bold for their utmost attention; “We urgently call the industry and their Trade Associations to take the results as a serious indication of the need to improve matters. We expect that the action taken will be reflected in significant improvements in future test results.”