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Seven UK bookmakers in hot water over underage betting

Ascot racing and gambling news

Ascot racing and gambling news

Seven betting operators in the United Kingdom could lose their gambling licences after their on-course businesses were caught accepting wagers from underaged gamblers.

The unnamed bookies were sprung taking £5 bets from a 16-year-old as part of a test conducted by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead at last month’s Royal Ascot race meet.

Of the 17 trackside betting retailers tested, seven failed to carry out the necessary age verification checks and are now in danger of losing their operating permits.

SEE ALSO: UK BETTING FIRMS PLEDGE £100M TO BATTLE GAMBLING ADDICTION

“These licence reviews show how strongly we feel about underage gambling,” said Richard Watson, UKGC executive director.

“Every single gambling business must protect children from gambling but the on-course bookmakers results have remained unacceptable.”

Watson went on to say racecourse bookmakers in the UK have a worrying track record when it comes to underaged betting.

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“Despite various educational attempts to raise standards, by ourselves and the trade bodies, the on-course sector has historically performed poorly in both underage gambling test purchase exercises and Think 21 testing,” he continued.

“Pass rates have failed to meet the standards expected and the sector has consistently performed to levels below those we see in other gambling and age restricted products.

“By way of example, over the past four years, the on-course sector has a pass rate of around 35% for Think 21 testing.

“We welcome the positive initiated by the local authority and the racecourse to raise standards in the gambling industry.”

The testing carried out at Royal Ascot is part of a broader campaign to stamp out problem gambling among Britain’s youth.

A recent study commissioned by the UKGC claims as many as 450,000 minors gamble on a regular basis, with up to 55,000 of those exhibiting traits of gambling addiction.

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