The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is unhappy with many horse racing tracks because it believes that they are not doing enough to prevent underage gambling. An undercover operation proved the laxness of many tracks. Betting track operators were approached at various venues, with most operators serving kids of ages 16 and 17 without asking them for identification or proof of age.
These tests were performed at venues such as the Ascot Racecourse, which is one of the most well-known racing sites in the UK. Trained officers from the Maidenhead and Windsor Royal Boroughs helped lead these tests, with the Gambling Commission providing supervision. Children aged 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 were chosen at random, placed in appropriate clothing, and asked to take part in this operation.
The Gambling Commission was shocked to find that not a single person was asked to present ID, with operators paying them next to no attention. Bets of various valuations were placed, and the kids even cashed out in the event of a winning bet.
It is strictly forbidden for UK citizens aged 17 or younger to gamble at a race course, and operators are strongly encouraged to ask for identification from anyone who appears to be around the age of a teenager. An abysmal lack of recognition to this law has landed the Ascot Racecourse in trouble, and they have been told to shape up and change their policies immediately.
The Director of the UK Gambling Commission, Matthew Hill, was very disappointed by what transpired during these operations. He said: “This was a very bleak result. Considering all the leeway given to gambling and horse racing sites in the UK, cooperation with basic laws is the least we can expect. Preventing someone aged under 18 from gambling is one of the most basic gambling laws in this country. It is up to bookmakers and horse racing operators to keep a check on each specific location, and it is clear that they are failing at their jobs. We expect significant improvement the next time such an operation is run, or there will be severe sanctions for the entire industry.”
The Gambling Commission recognizes the difficulty in policing such situations, which is why they are willing to work with local authorities and specific sites to improve their security measures. They are hoping that by providing clear guidelines, easy-to-follow policies and a warning of future sanctions, horse racing venues will do more to prevent u18s from placing bets.
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