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UK Gambling Operators Found Lacking on Age Checking

27th November 2009

“A study by the UK Gambling Commission revealed that bookmakers are failing miserably at ensuring underage players aren’t allowed gambling options. The identification process was ignored at almost every venue tested by the commission, which wanted to know laws against betting under eighteen were being enforced.

After visiting a hundred different gaming outlets, including operations by each of the five biggest British bookmakers, the commission’s investigators found an unbelievable ninety-eight took bets from a seventeen-year-old. Staff training is supposed to insist on seeing identification for anyone not clearly twenty-one or older.

Industry insiders have reacted quickly, professing shame and promising to make adjustments to address the problem. But gambling opponents have seized the results as proof children cannot be guarded against an exploitative betting industry.

“We were told by the government that reforming gambling laws would help to protect our children, but yet again we have damning evidence that shows that isn’t happening,” said Don Foster, a spokesman for the anti-gaming Liberal Democrat party.

“We have to take these findings on the chin and admit that for some reason that culture has not been embedded in the industry in the way that it should have been,” said Andy Lyman, a representative of the Association of British Bookmakers. He said employees who could not buy into the age-checking culture would be released.

Commission spokesmen said the testing achieved what it was meant to, discovering weak links in the system. One said simply, and perhaps ominously, “We expect to see significant improvements.”

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