Responsible retailing at the races

Wednesday, 16 March 2016  |  Admin

Responsible retailing at the races


The first day of racing at Cheltenham Festival this week marked the start of a busy calendar of events for the racing community. In 2015, an estimated 1.9 million people attended Jockey Club Racecourses (a figure which excludes the bigger events such as Aintree, Chester and York Racecourses[1]) and this year visitor numbers are set to soar. Although we encourage people to enjoy themselves and champion businesses that benefit from the sport, it’s also essential for bookmakers to ensure they are conducting responsible gambling and safe retailing to protect themselves and others. 

In order to reap the benefits of the races, bookmakers should remember…


  • It’s illegal to accept a bet from or pay out winnings to anybody under the age of 18

  • Fake ID is readily available online so ensure that you check for tampering or reproductions

  • You should ALWAYS challenge young customers for ID, even if they look like they might be old enough. If an adolescent doesn’t have their official driving license or passport, they must have an official document with a hologram on. Once presented with the ID, ensure you check it carefully and look for the date of birth to confirm the customer is 18-years old

  • If you become aware that someone under 18 is gambling, you must cancel the bet and return the stake

  • You could be subject to test purchasing any time during the races season, so make sure you are adhering to these rules at all times to protect yourself and your business


Ensure your staff are aware of the penalties and that you have a robust system in place to demonstrate due diligence, as any offence under the National Gambling Act 2005 can be tried on indictment in the Crown Court and on conviction, could attract an unlimited fine and/or a prison sentence up to two years.


It’s vital that your team has received correct and efficient training to protect themselves, the business and the racecourse’s visitors. See the Best Practice Section of our website, where you can purchase books, posters, and other merchandise to promote safe retailing and gambling. We also have a work-based learning course ‘Award in Preventing Under Age Gambling’ which customers can carry out themselves. Alternatively, Under Age Sales can visit your establishment and conduct the training on site. 

You can also see me more about what Under Age Sales do on our website: