n undercover investigation by the commission used debit cards registered to minors to access the sites to test security measures. They found loopholes in filtering measures designed to prevent the young becoming addicted.
Under the Gambling Act 2005, which overhauled gaming in Britain and paved the way for a network new regional casinos, online operators have to set up technical hurdles to stop youngsters taking part. They are required to verify users’ name, date of birth, address and payment details and make use of filtering software to single out illegal users.
Experts warned that the loopholes could allow a generation of young people to become addicted to gambling. Gambling sites have a series of measures to weed out under-age users and in most cases the commission found shortcomings in only one check, meaning that children may still have been caught by others.
Gerry Sutcliffe, the culture minister, said: "The majority of the tests showed that policies and procedures to prevent children from gambling on remote sites are effectively in place." But Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat culture spokesman, said: "There is a massive danger that this will fuel a huge increase in under-age gambling addiction."