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'What happens if an under-18 uses my gambling machine?'

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Reel to reel: Tips on keeping gaming machines in pubs
Reel to reel: Tips on keeping gaming machines in pubs

Related tags Licensing

Many pub and club operators holding premises licences under the Licensing Act 2003 operate gaming machines within their premises, often under a notification for two machines or a Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permit (LPGMP).

During the past six months, the Gambling Commission (GC) has worked in partnership with local authorities to test compliance with laws put in place to protect children from the risks of harm associated with gambling. Of the pub premises recently tested, almost 90% failed to prevent children accessing Category C (£100 jackpot) age-restricted machines. Failure to prevent underage access is an offence under the Gambling Act 2005 and operators must be aware of their obligations.

The GC publishes a code of practice for gaming machine operation and here are some top tips to ensure compliant operation:

  • All gaming machines must only be made available for use at times when alcohol sales are permitted under your premises licence
  • Gaming machines must be suitably located to ensure that they can be adequately supervised by staff members in order to prevent underage access. Often the best location for £100 jackpot machines is in the clear line of sight of bar areas
  • Policies and procedures must be in place to prevent under-18s playing on age restricted (Category C) machines and best practice would be to implement your standard age veri­fication process for alcohol sales, such as Challenge 21
  • Ensure staff members understand the types of machines operated at your premises and the permission you hold, such as a noti­fication or LPGMP. You may also provide Category D family-friendly machines, which are not age-restricted, such as those that operate a crane grab style mechanism used to win/grab a prize with a value up to £50
  • Procedures should also be developed for dealing with repeated attempts at underage gambling. This may include the provision of oral warnings, providing responsible gambling information (which can be obtained from organisations such as GambleAware), barring individuals of concern and reporting repeated attempts to the local police
  • Prepare a complaints and dispute policy, which can be referred to and provided to customers upon request. This will enable any complaints to be dealt with in a clear and structured manner
  • The GC’s code of practice also requires that any cash/ATM machines are not located near gaming machines so that customers must cease playing if they wish to obtain further funds
  • Gaming machines can only be supplied to you by a GC-licensed supplier, which ensures that the machines are compliant with the GC’s technical standards. Your machine supplier should be able to provide you with any relevant details.

For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website​.

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