Brighton and Hove arcades and betting shops fail to enforce age limit

Posted On 19 Jun 2014 at 1:30 pm

Four amusement arcades and two betting shops allowed a boy to play on a gaming machine without challenging him during an official test.

Only one out of seven of the premises tested upheld the law and challenged the 16-year-old. The age limit for gaming machines is 18.

The tests were carried out by Brighton and Hove City Council licensing officials with help from the Gambling Commission.

The results are included in a report to the council’s Licensing Committee which is due to meet next Thursday (26 June).

It said that only the Gaming Centre, in Boundary Road, Hove, passed the test and challenged the teenager as he went in to the arcade.

Councillor Stephanie Powell, who chairs the Licensing Committee, said: “It is shocking that there is such a high failure rate and proves how valuable the work of the council and the Gambling Commission is in highlighting the problem to licensed operators.

“With gaming machines on the increase and the real concerns about fixed odds betting terminals, where people can lose a lot of money very quickly, it is more important than ever that we take steps to protect young people.

“The council will continue to be vigilant, carry out test purchases and take enforcement action if necessary.”

The premises that failed the test purchase were

  • Bridge Bookmakers, in St James’s Street, Brighton
  • Connaught Leisure, in George Street, Hove
  • Metrobet Bookmakers, in Boundary Road, Hove
  • Nobles Amusements, in St James’s Street, Brighton
  • Regency Arcade, in West Street, Brighton
  • Silverstreak, in St James’s Street, Brighton

All the premises have responded to the council’s findings and all have issued a commitment to improve their policies and procedures.

This includes training, “blocking” machines when idle so that customers have to approach staff before playing and introducing self-testing and checking.

Licensing officers will also be retesting all the premises in the near future.

A national test purchase operation carried out by the Gambling Commission in 2009 saw a 98 per cent failure rate among larger operators.

Since then, the council said, larger establishments have introduced measures to combat underage gambling.

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