On-course bookmakers fail in "most basic obligation" at Ascot

By Emma Rumney
The UK Gambling Commission has warned on-course bookmakers they must be more proactive in preventing underage gambling after a test purchasing operation at Ascot saw every operator serve a 16-year-old without asking for proof of age.

UK law prohibits any person under the age of 18 from placing bets at a racecourse or elsewhere.

Results of the tests undertaken on 20 June at one of the UK's most esteemed horseracing venues were described by Matthew Hill, director of the Commission, as "pretty poor", with none of the bookmakers approached fulfilling "one of [their] most basic obligations".

Bookmakers who failed the test were advised on their conduct and are required to improve their policies and procedures for preventing underage gambling.

The Commission is now urging all gambling operators to bear in mind their responsibility to ensure children and young people are not permitted to gamble.

Hill said: "The industry must do better or operators are likely to find themselves facing formal sanctions."

The regulator said it will continue to work with local authorities to test on-course bookmakers and other gambling operators as part of its rolling programme of testing.

The tests at Ascot were done under the supervision of trained officers from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and supported by a Gambling Commission compliance manager in cooperation with the track licensee Ascot Racecourse LTD.

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