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Bookies Failed Underage Betting Test at Royal Ascot

  • The sting took place last June at Royal Ascot
  • The guilty bookmakers didn't ask for ID
  • Part of the fight against child gambling
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Royal Ascot

 

How typical that bookies failed underage betting test. Every year the Royal Ascot is held in the Summer, in the third week of June. The Queen is there along with all the cream of the UK racing industry. Last year was no different. Except that seven UK racecourse bookmakers are about to be a lot less well off.

Introduction: Bookies Failed Underage Betting Test at Royal Ascot

These bookmakers have been ordered to forfeit 2.5% of their total annual profit. And the reason? Well, they let a sixteen year old place a bet. According to online sportsbook news in the UK, the UK Gambling Commission organized a sting operation whereby a sixteen year old boy tried to place a bet of 5GBP ($6.50). This was in order to see whether any of the bookmakers present would actually take the bet. Unfortunately for seven of them, they didn’t follow the proper laid down rules with regard to underage betting. The legal age to place a bet in the UK is 18 years of age. And it’s the same with these online sportsbook sites from the UK.

It’s the Law

Though the offenses occurred over six months ago, the Gambling Commission has been pondering how to approach the matter of punishment. The Guardian Newspaper spoke with Mick Williams of the Association of Racecourse Bookmakers. He wasn’t too happy with such a high “fine”. “It’s scary,” Williams said. “You’d think there’d be a procedure in place: a warning for the first offense, a fine for the second, and then at some stage a possible suspension of your license. But there’s none of that. They’ve spent seven months thinking about it and have come up with this,” he said. He clearly shouldn’t be a bookmaker as he can’t understand the difference between 16 and 18.

Protect the Children

The Gambling Commission has refused to comment on this particular case. They did reaffirm their commitment towards stamping out underage gambling. They said, “Every single gambling business must protect children from gambling, but the on-course bookmakers’ results have remained unacceptable.” And that includes sites like Unibet.

Do the Crime, Do the Time

Five years ago they carried out a similar test and all 20 of the approached bookmakers failed. Then again, last Summer, of the 17 tested, 10 passed. This is because they actually stuck to the gambling guidelines and asked the 16 year old for identification. It’s not rocket science! One of the representatives of the bookmakers effected by this latest event is Robin Grossmith of the Federation of Racecourse Bookmakers. He said the 2.5 percent penalty is excessive. He pointed out that for one bookmaker, the punishment for taking the £5 bet will cost him £7,600 ($9,872).

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Royal Ascot Pavilion                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:Creative_Commons

Bookies Failed Underage Betting Test: Be Responsible

This whole affair plays directly into the hands of those opposed to gambling. In order to be able to call yourself a book maker and actually take monetary bets, you’ll be needing a government license. It’s part of the terms of the license that you can’t take bets from children. Even online companies like Unibet have to follow the rules. With all the bad publicity that child gambling attracts from the media, these bookmakers, thinking they could make a quick buck, have done nothing other than to highlight the negative connotations associated with gambling as a whole.

Helping Underage Gamblers

One of the main objectives of the Gambling Commission is to tackle endemic child gambling. And while the figures are improving, it’s still too little and always too late. A survey conducted last Autumn showed that 11% of kids between 11 – 16 years old, had gambled within seven days of being asked. That’s down from 14% one year before. The Gambling Commission points out that of those surveyed, 55,000 are classified as “problem gamblers.” For the first time, the National Health service has set up a clinic dedicated to helping children with a gambling problem. Even though these bookies failed underage betting test, let’s hope that the serious punishment wakes some bookmakers up.

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