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Bookmakers face review after allowing 16-year-old to place bet at Royal Ascot

Seventeen arrests made by police during Royal Ascot

A series of bookmakers are having their licences reviewed after allowing an underage person to place a bet at Royal Ascot.

Royal Borough officers carried out age verification tests at the popular race last month.

Of 17 operators tested, seven allowed a 16-year-old to place a £5 bet and now face regulatory action from the Gambling Commission.

Richard Watson, the commission’s executive director, said: “These licence reviews show how strongly we feel about underage gambling.

“Every single gambling business must protect children from gambling but the on course bookmakers results have remained unacceptable.”

Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury), the cabinet member for public protection, said: “I am delighted that our officers led and organised this test purchasing.

“It is important that our residents as well as visitors to the borough are kept safe. It is not acceptable to take bets from young people and I am pleased that strong action is taking place.

“Our hard-working team of officers will often carry out test purchasing across the borough to ensure our residents are kept safe and that traders are abiding by the rules.

“I am pleased that this hard work is paying off and the Gambling Commission is taking action against those bookmakers.”

Action available to the commission includes issuing a warning, revoking a licence entirely and imposing a financial penalty.

The bookmakers who failed the test purchase have not been revealed.

Mr Watson said the ‘on-course sector has historically performed poorly in… underage gambling test purchase exercises’.

“Pass rates have failed to meet the standards expected and the sector has consistently performed to levels below those we see in other gambling and age-restricted products,” he said.

He added: “We welcome the positive initiative by the local authority and the racecourse to raise standards in the gambling industry.”

A spokeswoman for Ascot Racecourse said: "The investigation by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead was extensive, professional and welcome. Ensuring that everyone complies with vital legislation is very important."

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