Redbridge Council’s licensing committee decided to withdraw the permit of the JDW branch on 19 November after the George pub failed two test operators, led by the borough’s licensing enforcement team and the police.
Both episodes, which took place in January and June this year, saw police cadets – under the age of 16 – enter the east London pub and use two gambling terminals, unchallenged.
Exploited by gambling
The council’s corporate director for place Sue Harper said: “Businesses with permits to operate betting machines have a legal obligation to protect children and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
“At Redbridge, we put the welfare of our children at the heart of everything we do and won’t be afraid to use the full weight of the law against businesses in the borough that fail in their legal obligations to safeguard young people.”
Despite staff being in the vicinity, the cadets were able to spend £3 on the machines without being asked for proof of age – on both occasions.
Two plain clothed police officers who had entered the pub before the cadets had witnessed the illegal activity take place.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “The company takes its responsibility to comply with the law on all age-prohibited products and services extremely seriously.
“We shall consider the council’s concerns carefully and ensure all necessary actions are taken at the pub to prevent any repeat.”
The George on Wanstead High Street has now lost its right to have up to seven Category C (£1 play and £100 max pay-out) gaming machines in the pub.
However, the pub will still be allowed to keep two machines because the law states every pub is entitled to two terminals, without the need for a permit.