The Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) has defended UK betting shops’ record of preventing under-18s from participating and engaging.
According to independent analysts Serve Legal, betting shops are ‘at the top of the league’ when it comes to validating customer ages, outperforming UK convenience stores, supermarkets, and gas stations.
Serve Legal conducted ‘secret shopper’ spot checks to see if staff had requested customers for IDs to process adult purchases.
Customers were asked for identification in 90 percent of betting shops, compared to 83 percent of convenience stores, 77 percent of supermarkets, and 76 percent of petrol forecourts.
The analysis revealed a significant improvement for betting shops, which had previously recorded checks in 67 percent of sites when the tests were first implemented.
Zero tolerance approach
Michael Dugher, BGC’s Chief Executive, stated: “Regulated BGC members have a zero-tolerance approach to under-18s betting and I am delighted to see that the age verification systems in place in betting shops are robust.
“I want to pay tribute to betting shop staff who, like other retailers, have endured a very challenging year of closures, restrictions and fast-changing COVID-19 guidance. Despite those pressures, they have remained absolutely focussed on ensuring the safety of customers and the protection of young people.”
The BGC’s safer gambling charter prioritises the protection of underage gamblers, which is bolstered by new technologies to prohibit under-18s from seeing betting advertisements and new age verification checks on digital sites like YouTube.
The introduction of the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme – funded by £10 million in contributions from BGC members and delivered independently by YGAM and GamCare – is another proactive action.
Dugher concluded: “I am proud of the progress we are making in betting shops, online and in casinos. I am absolutely determined – as our members are – that we build on these achievements and continue to do more to protect young people.”