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Gambling safeguarding guidance for premises

What is safeguarding?

Children of all ages need to be kept safe from harm. Safeguarding is about making sure that they are protected from all kinds of harm, not only physical and sexual but also psychological, emotional and moral harm. Where there is a risk, it is important that steps are taken to keep children safe.

What are the risks?

The risks will vary depending on the type of gambling activities taking place at the premises. For example, at adult gaming centres or casinos safeguarding systems must be in place to prevent young people gaining access to the premises. If children are permitted access to adult gambling activities they may be at risk of being:

  • Exposed to information or advertisements encouraging them to gamble.
  • Allowed or invited to gamble or bet in a commercial setting.
  • Financially exploited.
  • Allowed to purchase and consume alcohol.

The Gambling Act 2005 has three clear objectives:

  1. Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime.
  2. Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way.
  3. Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

These are underpinned by:

  • Social responsibility and protection of the public, especially children and the vulnerable. This remains the top priority.
  • Creating a new regime, which has at its heart firm but fair regulation, allowing people to enjoy gambling responsibly, encouraging an important industry to thrive by behaving responsibly, and protecting the vulnerable. A robust regime is good for players, providers and investors.
  • Close, open and consultative working with all stakeholders - the industry; faith, belief and community groups; researchers and those dealing day to day with problem gamblers.

The Act provides protection for children and vulnerable adults from the effects of harmful gambling through a number of specific offences that will prevent children and young people from being given access to inappropriate or harmful gambling opportunities. In particular, it will be an offence to invite or permit a child or a young person to gamble contrary to the provisions of the Act.

The Gambling Commission and Gambling Act promotes socially responsible gambling through licence conditions and codes of practice directed at those providing facilities for gambling. Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council endorses this, whilst reinforcing the need for children and young people to be safe from harm. We would therefore expect gambling license holders to be aware of how they can contribute to the safeguarding children agenda.