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Gambling Commission is taking action I am writing with regard to your article "Gambling body retracts claims" in your edition of Thursday 15 May....

Gambling Commission is taking action

I am writing with regard to your article "Gambling body retracts claims" in your edition of Thursday 15 May.

The article claimed that by refusing to comment on ongoing cases that have yet to reach prosecution, the Commission

had "effectively retracted" a comment made in a speech that said: "We have taken enforcement action against bookmakers systematically taking bets on alcohol-licensed premises."

We have, indeed, been taking enforcement action (which covers a wide range of activities and is not restricted to prosecution) and we stand by the principle of not commenting on ongoing investigations.

We operate in line with the Hampton better regulation principles and have been absolutely clear, since the introduction of the 2005 Gambling Act, that our approach to the licensed gambling community is risk-based, proportionate and targeted.

To give you some background, the Gambling Act 2005 does not regulate betting by reference to the place where bets are placed, but by reference to those providing commercial betting — who must be licensed operators — and the circumstances in which premises may be used to provide commercial gambling. Public houses would not be licensed for commercial gambling as it is a mandatory condition of a betting premises licence that no alcohol be consumed on the premises.

We have identified the widespread practice of licensed bookmakers using public houses and clubs as betting intermediaries. Because this illegal activity appears to be both widespread and longstanding and there may well have been some ignorance of the legal position, we have given licensed bookmakers involved in this practice every opportunity to comply.

Where such activity is identified, the scale of the operation and the operator's response is taken into account. If the operator cooperates with the investigation and desists from such activity then the outcome of the review is likely to be a formal warning.

Obviously if an operator does not cooperate with our investigation there are a range of further sanctions including fines (unlimited) and suspension or revocation of licence. To date we have had no reason to impose such sanctions.

Julia MacKisack

Director of Communications

Gambling Commission

Victoria Square House

Victoria Square


Multi-tasking is a snip at our Shropshire pub

With reference to your article "Cutting-edge project draws in punters" (8 May 2008). You may be interested to know I started a barbers from my inn in October 2007. BBC Radio Shropshire wanted to interview us, but it was too soon after we opened, so I didn't take advantage of the offer.

The difference with my barbers

is that the barber is a lady — my daughter. Our opening offer was a cut and a pint for £5. Also we didn't spend £5,000 to start up. Perhaps

I was the first to open a pub barbers shop. We also offer complimentary tea or coffee. It caused quite a stir — lots of people thought it was a joke!

Other services I offer are photocopying and laminating; home-made bread baked in the bread oven while punters have a few pints; and bed & breakfast.

Mrs E Bell

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