There have previously been concerns within the industry about the figures bandied around when discussing underage gambling. Today the Gambling Commission has published its 2019 Young People and Gambling Report and which makes interesting reading.
The key headline is that there is a downward trend in children age 11- 16 claiming to have gambled in the previous 7 days – from 14% reported in 2018 to 11% this year and with 89% having not gambled at all. The report has also confirmed what many have always believed to be the case that most of the “gambling” in this age bracket was among peers with 5% having placed a private bets with friends, and 3% having placed a bet while playing cards with their friends. Only 4% of 11- 16 year old children had played on a fruit machine, while 3% had bought a National Lottery ticket and 3% had purchased Lottery scratchcards.
These statistics will be welcomed by an industry that is still reeling from the fallout of the battle to reduce stakes on FOBTs and has been demonised by the media. However there is no room for complacency at a time when the Gambling Commission has again raised concerns about the high failure rate for underage gambling in pubs on category C gaming machines. The statistics for 2018 show 88% of pubs are failing test purchases undertaken by local licensing authorities.
This has been on the industry’s radar for sometime and its unlikely to go away. What is surprising is that landlords are well aware of the consequences of underage sales of alcohol but still pay scant regard to training staff on age verification for gambling. It is therefore incumbent of single site suppliers to push home the issue with their customers otherwise they run the risk of more regulation in the sector.