Nearly 90 Percent Of UK English Pubs Allow Underage Gambling UKGC Claims

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has demanded that UK pubs crackdown on young people using gambling machines after an undercover operation revealed that nine out of ten pubs in the country were routinely allowing the use of fruit machines by children.The Commission said they had written to several pub trade companies to implore them to make more of an effort to ensure this didn’t happen, with the UKGC Enforcement Chief, Richard Watson saying upon the release of the news that the preliminary findings were “sufficiently concerning that we consider it to be in the public interest to release them immediately”.


Volunteer police officers as well as staff from local licensing authorities and trading standards carried out 61 tests, revealing that 89% of pubs, regardless of size or region, failed to enforce age restrictions on gambling machines.Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP who was at the forefront of the successful campaign to get the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) reduced from £100 to £2 spoke on the issue, saying:“Children growing up thinking feeding coins into a high-stakes machine is acceptable can progress to problems in adulthood. We legislate to stop underage drinking but ignore underage gambling.”

Gambling vs Drinking

It seems there’s truth in Ms Harris’ words, with an average pass rate of around 80% for preventing underage drinking, against essentially converse results for gambling machines.Watson said that results were “uniformly poor” across all the pubs tested, and reminded pub owners that they were breaking the law by allowing children to gamble in their establishments, adding:“We urgently call on the industry and their trade associations to take the results as a serious indication of the need to improve matters.” 

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