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According to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), UK betting shops have once again shown they are top of the league when it comes to preventing under-18s from buying their products.
Figures released by independent analysts Serve Legal have revealed their record on age verification checks is better than that of convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol forecourts.
Serve Legal carried out spot checks designed to test whether ‘secret shoppers’ are asked to show they are 18 or over at any point during their visit. If a customer is asked to prove their age, the shop scores a pass.
A total of 90 per cent of betting shops have passed in 2021 so far, compared to 83 per cent of convenience stores, 77 per cent of supermarkets and 76 per cent of petrol forecourts.
When the tests were first introduced, just 67 per cent of betting shops passed – a sign of the huge progress they have made in recent years.
Michael Dugher, chief executive of the standards body the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “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.
“By any measure, age verification standards have improved since they were first introduced and once again betting shops are leading the retail sector in terms of compliance.
“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 focused on ensuring the safety of customers and the protection of young people.
“The work we are doing in betting shops is also mirrored in the actions we are taking online, including new tools to prevent under-18s seeing betting adverts and new age verification checks on digital platforms such as YouTube. There’s more to be done and we encourage social media platforms to do more. We also need to ensure that customers continue to stay in the regulated industry – and not gamble with the unsafe, unregulated black market, where there are no checks or protections.
“Meanwhile, the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, funded by £10 million from BGC members and delivered by YGAM and GamCare, continues to make impressive inroads, reaching half a million young people in the first six months of this year.
“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.”