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‘Shell-shocked’ bookmakers face big fines for underage betting at Royal Ascot

• Seven on-course bookies allowed 16-year-old to place £5 bet
• ‘It’s scary. You’d think there’d be a procedure in place’

Racecourse bookmakers say they are “shell-shocked” at a decision by the Gambling Commission to ramp up punishments meted out for failing to prevent underage betting. Seven bookmakers have been told they must pay what amounts to 2.5% of their gross profit for an entire year after being caught by enforcement action at Royal Ascot last summer, when each of them allowed a 16-year-old – the permitted age is 18 – to place a £5 bet.

The bookmakers affected have until the end of this week to persuade the Commission that a lesser punishment would be appropriate and none were willing to go on the record. However, their trade representatives and other bookmakers said the fines were disproportionate to the offence and a long way out of line with action taken against high-street or online firms.

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