Todmorden bookies crackdown on ID checks

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A bookmaker’s drive to protect young people from the potential harmful effects of gambling has seen the business hit market leading levels of ID checking performance in Todmorden.

The UK’s leading independent ID auditors across all sectors of British retail Serve Legal, visited every William Hill shop in the UK with undercover teens.

Results show that they were challenged for ID on 95.4 per cent of visits to the bookmakers’ Todmorden outlets.

Serve Legal carry out 90,000 independent shop visits a year and cover the entire retail sector on the subject of ID compliance and age testing.

The company employ youngsters aged 18 and 19 to carry out the checks nationwide.

William Hill’s philosophy on barring under age gambling has seen the crackdown extended to protections around new media channels like Twitter.

Andrew Lyman, of William Hill, said: “We are delighted by the latest findings, but will not be sitting back and resting on our laurels. The staff in Todmorden are doing a very effective job in identifying possible underage visitors to our shops.

“William Hill operates a “Think 21” policy which means that a challenge should be made to any individual who, on any objective view, appears to be 21 or younger. Individuals are required to produce a valid photo ID as proof of age.

“This policy has been developed to mean that any young customer entering a betting shop should be challenged.

“The overall challenge rate at William Hill is now at least the equal of other age restricted sectors like supermarkets and convenience stores.

“However, we are now focussed on driving up the challenge on entry rate because we recognise the imperative of challenging straight away any young person who enters s betting shop before they can attempt to gamble.

“There has been a lot of ill-informed discussion on this issue and whilst challenges remain for some smaller gambling operators to increase age verification pass rates, major operators are showing rapid incremental success in this area and are now sharing best practice.

“Recently our trade body, the Association of British Bookmakers, facilitated training and testing for independent members.

“We have many great people working for us in Todmorden who are fed up with their industry being kicked around as a political football.

“They feel that it is about time that the social worth of regulated community betting shops was recognised; especially when on an objective assessment, the betting industry is rising to the challenge of a reduced public sector that has traditionally supported us in our regulatory role.”