Arcade fined after it was caught out in underage gambling investigation

Slots Of Fun, picture courtesy of Google Street View
Slots Of Fun, picture courtesy of Google Street View
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A sting operation exposed underage gambling was being allowed at an amusement arcade.

Two boys were allowed to play a machine at Slots of Fun on Blackpool Promenade which paid out a £500 jackpot and should only have been used by adults of 18 and over.

Since this came to light we have upped our security

The 15 and 16-year-old boys were undercover test volunteers employed by Blackpool Council and The Gambling Commission to check the arcade was sticking to gambling rules.

Rainbow Arcades Limited, whose headquarters is in Swansea and which runs the Slots of Fun Arcade pleaded guilty to allowing underage gambling.

The company was fined £350 with £350 costs and ordered to pay a £150 court charge plus £35 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Victoria Cartmell, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, said the Slots of Fun arcade had fallen foul of a similar sting operation last year which showed it had allowed underage gambling.

On that occasion the company had been warned to get its house in order, but not prosecuted.

On May 9 this year, the 15 and 16-year-old test volunteers were sent to the arcade about noon.

They played on a category B3 machine, which paid a jackpot of £500, and should only have been used by people aged 18 and over.

While the teenagers were playing the machine, a man the Gambling Commission officer recognised as a manager at the arcade and a woman member of staff, both looked at the boys but did not stop them playing.

Martin Jones, for the company, told magistrates: “Since this came to light we have upped our security.

“We now have an alarm and a gate in the larger jackpot area.”

He added that the company had passed a test three weeks ago when underage volunteers had been sent in to the arcade but had not been allowed to gamble illegally.

The company, which also supplied machines to pubs, had lost £68,000 last year because of the closure of many pubs.