Almost a year after the Gambling Commission highlighted failures to stop children playing on 18+ pub gaming machines, the British Beer and Pub Association and UKHospitality have jointly published a Social Responsibility Charter for Gaming Machines in Pubs (that can be downloaded below).
The Charter incorporates Codes of Practice aimed at promoting collaboration and training to prevent under-age gambling. It contains the following key principles:
- to collaborate across the pub sector and with other industry stakeholders to address under-age and problem gambling where it occurs within pubs;
- to ensure pub staff understand and meet their legal responsibilities and have support in tackling under-age gambling if it occurs in pubs – under the Gambling Act 2005 it is illegal to allow those under the age of 18 to play Category C ‘AWP’ machines even if they are accompanied by an adult;
- to co-operate with regulatory and enforcement bodies, such as Licensing Authorities and the Police, as relevant to the issue of gambling in pubs;
- to engage and work with the Gambling Commission, e.g. in developing initiatives, strategies and policies, sharing information, assisting in research;
- to support the work undertaken by GambleAware, particularly to better understand the specific issues that arise from gambling in pubs and how to address them.
The Charter contains two Codes of Practice – one for pubs and the other for pub businesses – that provide as follows:
Code of Practice for Pubs
- Ensure all staff are aware that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to play a gaming machine (Category C), even if accompanied by an adult, or undertake any other form of gambling in the pub.
- Ensure that where a Challenge 21 / Challenge 25 policy is adopted for the sale of alcohol, the same policy and approach is applied for challenging players of gaming machines. If neither policy is in use, all players believed to be under 18 must be challenged and asked to provide suitable ID.
- Ensure regular training for all staff on the issue of under-age gambling and how this should be tackled in the pub.
- Ensure that all gaming machines have relevant Licensing Authority approval. If no more than two machines are in the pub, ensure that the Licensing Authority has been advised of the intention to benefit from the automatic entitlement; if more than two machines, ensure that a licensed premises gaming machine permit is held.
- Ensure that specific guidance is given to staff regarding siting of gaming machines and also preventing under-age play of machines. For example, machines must be located in a place within the premises so that their use can be supervised by staff directly or by other means (e.g. CCTV), and must be located away from ATMs.
- Ensure that adequate arrangements are in place for the supervision of gaming machines.
- Ensure that appropriate and clear messaging (aimed at under-age players and problem gamblers) is used in the pub – namely either on or near any gaming machines. This can include messaging as part of the gaming machine itself, or other physical messaging (e.g. posters).
- Maintain a refusals log to record instances of prevention of under-age gambling after successful challenge by staff.
- Ensure that all gaming machines are sourced and maintained by a Gambling Commission licensed supplier.
- Always offer to return any stake that has been placed by an under-age player that has been successfully challenged and refused, but withhold any winnings that have not been withdrawn from the machine.
- Ensure compliance with relevant codes and practices such as the Gambling Commission’s Code of Practice for Gaming Machines in Clubs and Premises with an Alcohol Licence.
Code of Practice for Pub Businesses
- Monitor and review annually the effectiveness of the Charter and industry best practice initiatives through UKHospitality and BBPA’s joint Gaming Group, in conjunction with other industry stakeholders
- Ensure that where a Challenge 21 / Challenge 25 policy is adopted for the sale of alcohol, the same policy and approach is applied for challenging players of gaming machine
- Ensure regular training for all staff on the issue of under-age gambling and how this should be tackled in the pub
- Ensure that specific guidance is given to pub staff regarding siting of gaming machines and also preventing under-age play of machines. For example, machines must be located in a place within the premises so that their use can be supervised by staff directly or by other means (e.g. CCTV), and must be located away from ATMs
- Ensure that clear information is provided to customers to assist them in making informed decisions. This could include providing staff with necessary messaging materials aimed at under-age players and problem gamblers
- Undertake (or commission) regular age-verification testing across all of the estate, using an industry-accepted protocol
- Implement and maintain a written procedure for complaint and dispute handling, regarding the use of gaming machines in pubs
- Implement and maintain an internal disciplinary process for managed pubs and specific staff that consistently fail age-verification testing. Similarly, tenanted pubs will also be encouraged to have a disciplinary process for their staff
- Ensure compliance with relevant codes and practices such as the Gambling Commission’s Code of Practice for Gaming Machines in Clubs and Premises with an Alcohol Licence
- Continue working with machine manufacturers and providers, to incorporate appropriate messaging for players, and help to prevent both under-age gambling and problem gambling
- Make an annual cash contribution to a gambling charity, such as GambleAware or other gambling charities approved by the Gambling Commission.
Commenting on the launch of the Charter, Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (until 11 October 2019, following which she will become Chair of the newly formed Betting and Gaming Council) has said:
The BBPA and our members are committed to keeping the pub a safe and friendly environment for families, so we have taken concerns raised by the Gambling Commission seriously. I am therefore pleased that we have produced collectively an updated charter and code of practice that will help pub companies and independent pubs ensure that there is no under-age gambling in their premises. The code highlights the need for focused staff training and the use of Challenge 21/25 guidelines.
It is important for pubs to ensure that their gaming machines are not used by those under-age. Not least because failure to do so could result in action being taken by Local Authorities to remove gaming machine entitlements, when they offer both entertainment and much needed additional revenue for overtaxed pubs.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls has said:
Pubs are, by and large, safe and supervised environments in which to relax. It is increasingly obvious, though, that pubs can and should be doing more to tackle to under-age gambling on their premises.
Gaming machines are a vital revenue stream in pubs and many customers enjoy gambling responsibly when they go to the pub. There can be no room for under-age gambling, though, and we need to ensure that standards on this issue are as high as they are in every other aspect of pubs.
I am very pleased that UKH and the BBPA have used their collective wisdom to produce a Charter that will help our members, and the whole pub sector, stamp out under-age play wherever it occurs.
You can also download below the above-mentioned Code of Practice for Gaming Machines in Clubs and Premises with an Alcohol Licence, published by the Gambling Commission in August 2014.