East London Pub Loses Gambling License Over Underage Gambling

Gambling Machines

A JD Wetherspoon pub located on Wanstead High Street has reportedly lost its gambling license.

The pub, called The George Public House, has its gambling license revoked earlier this month over its failings to prevent underage gambling on the betting terminals located in the pub. The pub has seven machines, five of which require a license to operate and two which the pub is entitled to under current law.

According to reports, the license was revoked after two undercover police cadets aged 14 and 15 were able to play on the pub’s gambling machines in January and June of this year. Although they were in full view of the bar and the site’s staff members, the cadets were not asked for ID or proof of age.

The two cadets were able to spend £3 on the terminals and both instances were witnessed by two plains clothes policemen who had entered the pub before the cadets, Ilford Recorder states. This led to the pub having its licenses revoked, more than seven years after it was first granted.

Reports state that the pub was informed that it had failed to carry out its duties under the Gambling Act 2005 in January. An email from Wetherspoon’s Area Manager Danny McClusky stated that the pub had taken immediate action following their test and was retraining all employees to follow company guidelines regarding responsible gambling.

Five months later, in June, the pub failed its second test and a notice of a proposal to remove the betting machines was sent to the Wetherspoon’s head office on July 10th, 2019. It’s now been reported that Redbridge Council has revoked the pub’s gambling license and the establishment will be forced to rescind five of its gambling machines.

What They Say

JD Wetherspoon spokesperson Eddie Gershon said in a statement: “The company takes its responsibility to comply with the law on all age-prohibited products and services extremely seriously. We shall consider the council’s concerns carefully and ensure all necessary actions are taken at the pub to prevent any repeat.”

Redbridge Council’s Corporate Director Sue Harper added: “Businesses with permits to operate betting machines have a legal obligation to protect children and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

“At Redbridge, we put the welfare of our children at the heart of everything we do and won’t be afraid to use the full weight of the law against businesses in the borough that fail in their legal obligations to safeguard young people.”

The news comes just days after the newly formed Betting And Gaming Council (BGC) introduced its Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS) into UK betting shops. The system uses a real-time algorithm to monitor a player’s gambling behaviour.

Whenever the system picks up on behaviour which can be classed as irresponsible or harmful, it will force the player to take a break from the machine via a “cooling-off” period while simultaneously alerting any nearby staff members.