Following the announcement that seven UK on-course bookmakers will have their licenses reviewed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), officials from the racing industry have requested additional data on age verification measures to tackle gambling underage.
Reportedly, the seven bookmakers permitted a 16-year-old to place a bet at this year’s Royal Ascot in June.
Despite the UK-wide’ Think 21′ policy being introduced across racecourses, the industry has been put under fire for allegedly failing to perform thorough age checks.
However, after talking to a number of industry officials, on-course bookmakers are conducting checks to guarantee that underage individuals are unable to place a bet.
Previously, racecourses like Doncaster trialed wristbands for those over the age of 18, helping track staff to distinguish punters, but the trial was allegedly ineffective and unsuccessful.
One of the difficulties on-course bookmakers face is the absence of age barriers to what is frequently advertised as a’ family day out.’
An event such as Royal Ascot’s varied age group, with turn-out reaching over 300,000 individuals–creating problems for on-course bookmakers in distinguishing which punters are over 18 years of age.
Speaking to Christopher Hudson, Chairman of The British Racecourse Bookmakers ‘ Association, he clarified: “Obviously we are all worried about the amount of Bookies failing the Royal Ascot Age Verification exam as this Association has worked closely with the UKGC for many years to enhance pass prices in this distinctive industry.
“I say unique as, unlike the distant industry and other land-based operators such as casinos and betting stores in our industry, we do not have a barrier to refuse entry to the premises where we are betting.
“Bookies have a think 21 policy in the ordinary course of activities mostly on course and train their employees on particular training courses offered by trade associations accordingly. This is the suggested working procedure for the BRBA and employees are supplied with signage support to assist them. “Robin Grossmith, director of the Racecourse Bookmakers Federation, also clarified that the on-course industry is taking part in educational initiatives and training on age verification to guarantee that the’ pass rate’ improves. He expressed hope that for on-course companies, the license reviews would behave as a “wake-up call.”
Grossmith stressed that the FRB has developed a long-term partnership with the autonomous sample purchase service Serve Legal to implement the present Think 21 strategy, while also conducting four national seminars in cooperation with the UKGC and Serve Legal.
While present initiatives are believed to’ demonstrate that bookmakers are doing all they can’ to enhance age verification controls, it shows the need for on-course bookmakers to obtain additional data.