|Following last week’s report by children’s charity, NCH, accusing some gaming sites of failing to successfully guard against underage gambling, UK Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, issued a stern warning to the industry to shape up or face the consequences. She told the Telegraph Newspaper that she had been ‘alarmed’ by the report and that the problem was ‘very worrying’.|
'Two years ago we wrote to bookmakers warning them of the risks to children of accepting Solo cards for online betting,” she said. “None of the bookmakers, except Ladbrokes, has acted on the warning. This is completely unacceptable. I am determined to see proper protection for children from the risks that all these sites present. The bookmakers need to do more, so do the banks.'
Jowell said that, following the implementation of the Gambling Bill, the new Gambling Commission will conduct spot checks on gaming sites, and those who fail to prove they have implemented sufficient age verification processes could face unlimited fines or have their licenses revoked.
'What is clear is that many of our gambling laws date back to the 18th century and are completely incompetent to deal with innovations in Internet gambling. We will make it a statutory responsibility of licence holders that they act in a way that is socially responsible.”
Many in the industry feel the NCH report has criticised them unfairly and that responsibility lies with banks, who have issued Solo Debit cards to children as young as eleven. Since the report was published, several online operations have promptly ditched the Solo method of payment.