City Research Online

Regulation of adolescents’ gambling – too narrow approach

Carran, M. (2013). Regulation of adolescents’ gambling – too narrow approach. Public Law and Social Human Rights, 153(11), pp. 43-58.


The vast variety of contrasting regulatory approaches towards gambling across different jurisdictions has one common element – the need to protect minors from gambling related harm. Most jurisdictions, including UK attempt to achieve that by making minors’ gambling illegal and by imposing criminal sanctions on commercial providers who permit or invite adolescents to play. Despite those legislations, prevalence rates indicate that large number of minors does in fact participate in gambling activities including those that are unlawful for their age.

The paper demonstrates that the relative ineffectiveness of the prohibitions of gambling by minors in England and Wales results from the lack of cohesion within the applicable legal regime. It is notoriously difficult, but not impossible; to change social norms by legal means. This can only be achieved by targeted and coordinated approach toward an identified problem but no such consistent message can be found within UK gambling legislation. The paper challenges the effectiveness of criminal sanctions for regulatory gambling offences due to its inherent nature and the existence of easy to satisfy defences. Secondly, the paper argues that regulating gambling “stricto-sensu” only while leaving unregulated activities that may constitute entry points towards gambling and otherwise stimulating demand cannot be truly effective in protecting minors from gambling related harms.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
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