In the London Borough of Hackney, the Gambling Commission worked with Hackney Council and the police to seize illegal gambling machines from seven different businesses in the area. A total of 38 machines were seized, and all because the businesses hosting them failed to hold the correct licence to permit their use. The machines that were taken included fruit machines, video poker machines and betting terminals.
‘In order to have machines like this legally, businesses must have the correct licence so that we can regulate them,’ said Cllr Sophie Linden, who is Deputy Mayor at Hackney Council. ‘This is so we can work to protect vulnerable people from harm, prevent gambling being associated with crime and ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way.’
Matthew Hill, who is Director of Regulatory Risk & Analysis at the Commission, said: ‘This is a great example of a licensing authority taking responsibility for dealing with gambling-related crime, working in partnership with the police and the Gambling Commission.’
In Allerdale in Cumbria, the Gambling Commission worked with Allerdale Borough Council and the police to prosecute 58 year old David Lawson of Cockermouth. Lawson had been taking bets via telephone between September 2014 and January 2015 without any licence to do so, which means that he was effectively operating as an unlicensed bookmaker.
Last week, Lawson appeared before District Judge Robert Zara at Birmingham Magistrates Court, and was sentenced to carry out 80 hours of unpaid community work, as well as to pay £2,000 towards legal costs. Nick Tofiluk, who is Director of Regulation at the Commission, said: ‘We would like to warn members of the public that many of the safeguards in place to ensure that gambling is fair and open may be missing when dealing with unlicensed operators. Details of all operators licensed by us are published on our website.’
We congratulate the Gambling Commission on successfully thwarting these illegal gambling operations and we wish it every success in its efforts to continue protecting the gambling public in the future.