If someone has a problem with gambling, that suggests they have the compulsion to do it on a regular basis. I’m guessing that very few that suffer use the racecourse bookies as their primary betting medium.
Even less so if they are under age and at premier festival meetings. It’s hardly even arguable. So why did the Gambling Commission consider entrapment of racecourse bookmakers at Royal Ascot as a valid exercise? A meeting where the target is exceptionally busy and I’ll hazard the ‘punter’ is dressed to impressed and not in school uniform. The bookmakers are an easy target is the obvious answer.
Any child with a gambling problem certainly hasn’t developed and nurtured it on a racecourse. Were the same bait used to attempt to purchase drink, cigarettes and Tote bets? I’m assuming not, but if they were and other businesses fell foul, there is a simple cure all solution. Ascot and other racecourses can in future age verify everyone that buys entrance and issue a wristband so everyone who needs to know a person’s age can be confident at a glance that they are old enough.
Do the GC really think that there’s still a problem with children gambling on course being served by rotten egg bookies? If they do, a much better test would be to send an obviously underage person in for a bet on a desolate Wednesday in February. My money is on not one having their bet accepted, sadly that’s probably why they don’t.
There isn’t a problem with underage gambling on-course, to fabricate one then hit hapless layers with a monster fine equal to 2.5% of their gross profit is an absolute outrage.
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring