The legalities and results of under age gamblers

Most operators of AWP fruit machines falling in to class C or D and other gambling might not know the law regarding gambling including the under age restrictions imposed by a number of legislative documents and SI's. The gambling commission is not amused. Section 64 of the Gambling Act 2005 allows children to be used in enforcement operations to ensure no one is breaking the law. So the necessary local authority officers, trading standards and others will send in under age people to test whether you are stopping under age gambling in your pub or bar.

Category C and D machines are specifically included for protection of under age gambliers. If anyone under 18 uses those and breaks the law then you will have a major problem. And there is no defense other than taking the steps necessary to stop under age gambling occurring!  The resultant fine can be unlimited and staff can go to prison for up to near enough a year. If you don't do anything about this on your premises it will only be a matter of time before you are caught.

The state of under age gambling in pubs and bars

It's a little known fact that in 9 out of 10 pubs in England simply don't stop under age gambling on fruit machines. That is most often because of a lack of professional tools available to catch under age gamblers before they use the machines. It's a known fact that under age gambling on FOBT machines can lead younger gamblers in to a later life ridden by the problems of gambling. For younger gamblers (let alone adults) putting all of their money in a fruit machine on the basis that they will win 'the big one' at some stage is an incredibly powerful attraction in to the world of gambling.

Tests as to whether under age gambling is going on is carried out by the local trading standards and licensing authorities and even by volunteers on a very regular basis. But pub operators struggle to find ANY real solution to this problem.

The legislation came about because a Labour MP pushed a campaign about FOBT machines (basically fruit machines) in to law. And of course, when the gambling commission carried out over 60 checks and tests... they saw the results of around only a 10% challenge response for under age gamblers in pubs. The gambling commission though, understand how hard it is to manage young under age gamblers and don't really consider that it's a 'staff problem' for the sites that they visited.

Of course, it's not just pubs and bars either that are falling foul to under age gambling, the online operators are generally having similar results. And there a re other issues with online gambling by the operators. Some operators do NOT abide by the rule of 98% payout back to the gamblers... and flout the law on the basis that they won't get caught. However the consequences of those that ignore the law will be dire and they won't stay in business for long if they get caught.

For fruit machine gambling and allowing under age participants, generally the pub or bar will lose its gambling licence and reduce the number of machines in the venue to just two. But getting caught when there are only two machines could result in the loss of the permit in total! So the risks are clearly not worth the effort, whether intended or otherwise.

DOWNLOAD: The approach to test purchasing in England and Wales by Trading Standards and Local Councils and learn more about how operators get caught in breach of the legislation. It is an important document that no one who operates FOBT machines should ignore.

ChallengeCall™ was developed to help pub and bar staff to challenge gamblers before they play on the machines and to stop under age gamblers in their tracks. Ask us about this solution and a free trial on 01782 537000.