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The Gambling Commission has warned the licensed trade to expect increased test purchase operations around gaming machines in licensed premises.

The warning comes after the Commission this week reported test purchase failure rates nationally of 90% in licensed pubs.  During these test purchase operations staff working in licensed premises did not challenge children (under 18) playing on gaming machines.

The Commission said that interim results puts the current failure rate at 89% based on 61 tests. This compares to a pass rate of 70 – 85% for most age restricted products such as alcohol or tobacco.

In response, the Commission said alcohol licensed premises will see further test purchase operations over the coming months.

The Law

Section 46 of the Gambling Act 2005 states that “A person commits an offence if he invites, causes or permits a child or young person to gamble.”

Under section 284, a licensing authority may remove the exemption (to make gaming machines available on a licensed premises) if:

‘an offence under this Act has been committed on the premises’.

The Commission has published a Code of Practice for gaming machines in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence under section 24 of the Gambling Act. The Code makes it a condition of the permit that:

‘All gaming machines situated on the premises must be located in a place within the premises so that their use can be supervised, either by staff whose duties include such supervision (including bar or floor staff) or by other means.’

Section 3.1 of the Code sets out good practice in relation to access to gambling by children and young people:

Permit holders should put into effect procedures intended to prevent underage gambling. This should include procedures for:

  • checking the age of those who appear underage
  • refusing entry to anyone unable to produce an acceptable form of identification.

 Permit holders should take all reasonable steps to ensure that all relevant employees understand their responsibilities for preventing underage gambling.’

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