UKGC wipes ‘disproportionate’ Royal Ascot fines for on-course bookies

In light of the challenges facing on-course bookmakers as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has confirmed that it will review the fines issued to seven bookmakers at last year’s Royal Ascot.

The seven bookmakers had reportedly allowed a 16-year old to place a £5 bet at the Royal Ascot festival. Initially, the UKGC ordered the bookmakers to pay a fine which amounted to 2.5% of gross gambling yield, the amount retained by a bookmaker after payment of winnings but before deduction of any expenses.

Due to the cancellation of the UK racing calendar from 17 March, the UKGC has confirmed that it will be issuing the bookmakers with ‘advice to conduct’ letters or warnings.

Reported on the Racing Post, a Gambling Commission spokesperson said: “Protecting children and young people from gambling harm is a priority for the commission.

“Due to the impact of the exceptional commercial challenges and current uncertainty for on-course bookmakers, we have taken the decision to review the initial sanctions placed on these seven operators.

“We will continue to monitor their standards very closely. If future failings are identified we will not hesitate to take action.”

Chris Hudson, the president of the British Racecourse Bookmakers Association, explained that he was pleased by the news and that they will contact the UKGC to establish how on-course bookies can ‘work more closely together’ with the regulator.

He said: “We will again attempt to reach out to the Gambling Commission officers responsible to better understand how we can work more closely together, as protecting the young and vulnerable is a key objective of the Gambling Act and is supported by all racecourse bookmakers.”

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