Teenager from Newham admitted he has been able to gamble at one of the local betting shops.
An undercover operation by Newham Council in the United Kingdom has revealed that a 15-year-old has been allowed to gamble at a betting shop operating in full compliance with British gambling laws. Moreover, the schoolboy has been wearing his uniform when he entered the bookie with the intention to gamble. The legal age is of course 18.
A schoolboy from Stratford, Newham, has told British gambling news that he was able to place wagers and gamble freely on a Fixed Odds Betting Terminal on several occasions. The worrying this is that he hasn’t even been approached by the betting shop staff to inquire about his age.
Underage gambling report
The latest admission comes in the wake of a detailed report, focusing on increased numbers of underage gamblers in Britain. Most underage gambling activity occurs in the African Caribbean community in east London, according to the report.
The schoolboy had the following to share with the media: “We’d go after school with any money we saved up. It’s so exciting, especially if you leave with more money than you had before. There was one time, where there was only one lady person working. We were in our school uniform but she was so busy, I don’t think she even noticed us, or maybe she wasn’t bothered.”
Newham has already been noted as a community with one of the highest number of sportsbook outlets per square mile in the United Kingdom, 82 to be exact. The community has over 25 percent black or mixed residents according to the Census held in 2011.
Betting industry researches and reports
Back in 2011, Local Data Company has carried out a through industry research and published its results. They reveal that the number of sportsbooks on United Kingdom’s high streets has increased by fifteen percent during three years. The worst thing is that the focus of new operations seems to be the most economically disadvantageous areas.
MP Diane Abbott from Hackney and Stoke Newington, has been campaigning hard against the widespread increase in the number of land-based betting shops. She had the following comments for the press: “The proliferation of betting shops in some of Britain’s poorest communities is a cancer. Even worse, is the emergence of online betting and the associated television advertising which is making it all too easy for children and mothers at home to gamble.”
Government’s Gambling Commission spokesperson opined that they have already implemented steps to prevent underage gambling at land-based and online sportsbooks in the United Kingdom. These were the comments in the media: “Licensed operators are required to offer a range of social responsibility measures under the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP). These include having policies and procedures in place designed to prevent underage gambling and monitor the effectiveness of these.”
Underage gambling in Britain
• Teenager revealed he was able to gamble at a betting shop licensed under British gambling laws
• The admission came following an underground operation by Newham Council
• Revelations sparked an array of reactions from various authorities
However, a former employee of United Kingdom’s renowned gambling group confirmed that the occurrences where underage teenagers have been spotted gambling was not so uncommon. They commented: “I worked there for 15 months and we were always kicking underage brats out.”
The employee, who wished to remain anonymous, went on to comment: “The only thing driving staff to kick out underage kids is the risk of them losing their jobs. Sometimes we knew people were underage but they were so rude and disrespectful. Even if you kicked them out, they’d stay there.”
In an effort to address the issue, David Lammy, MP for the area in question, said that they are concerned with the rise in betting shops numbers. He also mentioned that staff training and management, as well as the increase in security levels are among the first things that need to be tackled urgently.
Here’s what he told the media: “Security does need to be tightened but a big part of the problem here is the rise of lone-staffing in betting shops. This not only means the shop workers [have] to work late at night by themselves, often putting their own safety at risk, but also means that many shops do not have sufficient staff to carry out age checks and keep a track on what customers are doing.”
David Lammy went on to add: “It is clear that bookmakers are intentionally opening new shops in the most deprived areas. They know there is a demand because people in these areas will sometimes turn to gambling to pay off debts or top up their earnings.”
It seems that although the issue of underage gambling is being addressed by the appropriate authorities, very little is actually being done to prevent children from gambling. The best solution to the problem seems to be tighter security at the betting shops and better staff training procedures. Although heavy fines for those bookmakers that do allow underage gamers should also help tackle the issue.