Landlords in Bolton have been warned after more than 90 per cent of pubs failed to stop underaged customers from gambling.
As part of a joint operation between Bolton Council and the Gambling Commission, volunteers aged 15 and 16 attempted to use fruit machines in a dozen pubs across the borough.
During the exercise, the youngsters were able to put money in and play on Category C game machines in all but one of the twelve pubs.
Category C machines have a maximum stake of £1 and can pay out jackpots of up to £100.
Under licensing regulations, staff are expected to stop under-18s from using the machines and pubs must display clear warning signs about the age restriction.
Council enforcement officers have since visited each of the 11 pubs to remind landlords and staff of their responsibilities.
Helen Rhodes, Programme Director at the Gambling Commission, said:
“The results of these tests are disappointing, and we urge the pub sector to take action immediately to enforce the laws in place to protect children and young people.
“Businesses should also be very aware that we will continue to work with Bolton Council, and other councils, on any further tests or enforcement activity.”
There will be serious repercussions for those who ignore their responsibilities.”
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Nick Peel, said:
“Gambling among young people is an increasing problem and it is unacceptable that all but one of the pubs inspected did not comply with the rules on gaming machines. That is a failure rate of 92 per cent.
“This was an awareness raising activity designed to remind landlords of their obligations around gambling. We have visited each of the 11 pubs to reinforce the importance of this work and we want this message to be understood by everyone.
“We will continue to work with the Gambling Commission protect children from the harm gambling can do and there will be serious repercussions for those who ignore their responsibilities.”