Somerset

Weston's Grand Pier takes tilt at teenage gambling

Slot machines in a uk pub Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The trial means under-16s will not be allowed to play Category D machines at participating arcades

Children who are not accompanied by an adult are no longer allowed to use some fruit machines at a seaside amusement arcade.

Weston-super-Mare's Grand Pier said it was "not out to spoil anyone's fun" but it was supporting a national summer trial to tackle teenage gambling.

The Gambling Commission says certain types of slot machines are the "most common route to gambling" for children.

If the trial is successful, all arcade owners could be forced to comply.

The British Amusement Catering Trade Association (Bacta), which is running the voluntary trial, said it had recently voted "unanimously to try new measures on cash payout slot machines in seaside arcades".

'Low risk'

John White, from Bacta, said: "As providers of family entertainment to nearly 20 million people annually, it is important we reflect what our customers want.

"We have listened carefully to the ongoing debate about children and gambling and we want to ensure we do everything we can to augment our existing safeguarding measures."

The Grand Pier has 45 of these types of slot machine and said staff would supervise "to ensure that customers comply with the trial".

Tim Moyle, from the Grand Pier, said research suggested the risk of gambling-related harm from seaside arcades was "very low" but said it supported Bacta's aims.

Mr Moyle said: "Visiting arcades is a staple part of seaside holidays but we agree that it is vitally important that any risks to children are minimised as much as possible."

The trial means under-16s will not be allowed to play Category D machines at participating arcades unless accompanied by someone who is 18 or over.

A Category D machine is one with a stake of up to 10p per play, and a cash prize of up to £5 a spin.

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