News story

Regulators cooperate for consistency in gambling test-purchases

The first Primary Authority inspection plans for gambling have received consent and are now in effect

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Milton Keynes Council and Reading Borough Council have developed inspection plans for their Primary Authority partners Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. The inspection plans contain national inspection strategies which together will cover a large portion of the betting sector.

The primary authorities worked with each other, and with the Gambling Commission, to develop the inspection plans in response to business concerns about inconsistent test-purchasing.

Terry Parker from Paddy Power said: “We are delighted to partner with Reading Borough Council on our age verification policies and look forward to working closely with them to help protect underage people from gambling.”

A Ladbrokes spokesperson said: “Ladbrokes take age restricted sales extremely seriously, and the Primary Authority scheme and inspection plan, together with the benefits of a consistent approach to regulation and enforcement throughout the country, will be extremely beneficial to our business ensuring a cost benefit to both regulators and ourselves.”

The inspection plans are designed to be largely uniform, thereby bringing consistency to proactive test-purchasing in betting shops. Enforcing officers will have to inform the relevant primary authority before conducting a proactive test-purchase, and will have to provide feedback to the primary authority afterwards.

The results of the national inspection strategies will be used by the primary authorities to help the businesses prevent underage gambling on their premises.

A Gambling Commission spokesperson said: “The Commission welcomes the opportunity to work with local authorities and businesses to help shape these Primary Authority arrangements. Ensuring that operators take effective steps to prevent underage gambling is a priority issue for the Commission, and the inspection plans have real potential to help the businesses concerned achieve the high standards the public expect.”

The primary authorities will have a national overview of the business’s compliance and will be able to collate information from various enforcing officers to identify particular trends.

Paul Gittings, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Consumer Services, said: “These inspection plans provide consistency for local authorities and business. Reading Borough Council is pleased to work with its Primary Authority partner, Paddy Power, and the Gambling Commission to help prevent underage gambling.’

A Milton Keynes Council spokesperson said: “This new national inspection plan, developed through our Primary Authority partnership with Ladbrokes, will make a real difference to how we work together and give significantly better protection to children; an outcome we all wish to see.”

Published 21 January 2015