Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, responds to a report published today by the Gambling Commission on the under-age use of gaming machines in pubs.
“These findings are worrying and highlight significant shortcomings in the pubs that were visited. If these findings reflect the wider pub industry's ability to ensure responsible oversight of adult-only gaming machines, that would be extremely concerning.
“It is vital our children and young people are kept safe and protected from the problems gambling can cause.
“Pub managers must be as vigilant about under age gambling as they are about under-age drinking. It is completely unacceptable to turn a blind eye to children playing gaming machines that are restricted to over-18s, which risks young people becoming addicted to gambling.
“However, promoting responsible gambling and supporting vulnerable customers cannot simply be left to individual staff working in pub premises who have not been properly trained on gambling issues, and who may be managing premises single-handedly.
“This is why the LGA has joined the Gambling Commission in calling on the pub industry and their trade associations to address the findings of this report and take urgent action to prevent young people from developing possible gambling problems as they grow older, which research has shown creates huge costs for the NHS, councils and the criminal justice system.”