HomeInsightsGambling Commission calls on pub industry to take faster action to prevent under-18s accessing gaming machines in pubs

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The Commission says that a review of pubs in England and Wales has shown that 84% of them are failing to prevent under 18-year-olds from playing Category C gaming machines, also known as fruit machines.

The Commission says that local authorities have primary responsibility for regulating these machines and businesses are responsible for ensuring that they are compliant in checking age verification. Over the last 12 months the Commission has worked with local authorities and local police to test compliance with laws in place to protect children from the risks gambling can pose.

Children are not permitted to play Category C gaming machines in pubs. Staff are expected to stop children playing on the machines and there should be clear signage indicating the age restriction.

The Commission says that this follows a test sample taken in 2018, which found that 88% of pubs in England failed to prevent children accessing 18+ gaming machines.

The Commission concludes that the findings suggest that the rules in place around these machines are still not being appropriately enforced and many employees are still unaware of the restrictions.

Programme Director Helen Rhodes said: “The pub industry must accelerate action to enforce these rules. Pubs must take age verification on machines as seriously as they do for alcohol sales, and they risk losing their entitlement to offer machines if they do not”. To read the Gambling Commission’s news release in full, click here.