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Byline: ANDREW HIRST Head of Content

POLICE have caught gambling premises across Kirklees breaking the law by allowing youngsters under the age of 16 inside.

The Gambling Commission is anxious to curb the problem after discovering that some businesses were flouting regulations.

Under the Gambling Act 2005 lawbreakers can be fined up to PS5,000 or jailed for up to 51 weeks.

West Yorkshire Police Licensing Officer Sgt Mandy Mellor said: "As part of our latest phase of work we conducted 18 test purchase operations in the Kirklees area using a child under the age of 16.

"Three adult gaming centres and seven bookmakers passed. However, eight others failed.

"Two of those were in north Kirklees and the other six were in south Kirklees.

"In each instance, they allowed a person under 16 to walk around their premises before playing on gaming machines. Each was subsequently advised of their responsibilities and will receive a further visit in the next three months to ensure they are adhering to the terms of their license.

"Allowing minors into a gambling environment is clearly unacceptable and by working alongside our partners we aim to ensure young people in Kirklees are protected."

Youngsters aged under 16 can play Category D gaming machines such as crane grabs for small prizes and 2p and 10p coin push and penny falls machines.

A Gambling Commission spokesman said: "Recent tests of smaller adult gaming centre and independent betting shop operators have indicated some weaknesses in identifying and challenging young persons who enter premises in order to play a gaming machine.

"All licensed operators are required to put into effect policies and procedures designed to prevent underage gambling and to monitor their effectiveness.

"In over half of the tests young persons were able to access premises and play gaming machines without challenge. Of particular concern is that, in some instances, the young people were spotted or even acknowledged, but were still not challenged.

"These early results broadly reflect the Commission's concerns that certain sections of the industry may not have sufficient safeguards in place to prevent underage gambling.

"The Commission expects to see improvements in results as its rolling programme of test purchasing continues".


| UNLUCKY FOR SOME: Sgt Mandy Mellor tested 18 Kirklees gaming centres for under age players
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 26, 2013
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