Under 18’s Policy

This policy has been approved by the National Committee on the 27th of April 2024


The members of Gamblers Anonymous (“GA”) support each other in Groups. As individuals, GA members should be aware of their duties of care to others, and follow the law and best practice regarding safeguarding, when acting in GA’s name.

In most cases it is Illegal for Under 18’s to gamble, however there are exceptions where gambling can take place. See table below.

Minimum age for participation in different gambling activities.*

Gambling activity/productMinimum legal age to play
Private bets with friends or familyUnlicensed – no age limit
All Category D gaming machinesNo age limit*
Unlicensed lottery products (non-National Lottery)Varies*
Licensed lottery products (non-National Lottery)16
Football pools16
Category B & C gaming machines18
Betting shops18
Bingo halls18
On course betting at race tracks18
National Lottery products18
Online betting and gaming18

Source: Gambling Commission

Under 18’s safeguarding requirements

For Under 18’s to be able to attend meetings, GA would be required to meet statutory regulations covered in the two government documents named below.

The Leading Safeguarding Partners (LSP) framework requires all of the following;

  1. Designated Safeguarding Officer for each group.
  2. Local Authority.
  3. Chief of Police.

Sharing information with the LSP’s is required on a regular basis on any named individual under 18 years of age.

In the absence of a designated safeguarding officer at the meeting a deputy must be nominated.


Safeguarding children in GA would require extensive resource, training & costs. This would also conflict with our unity principles 8 &12.

8. G.A. should remain forever non-professional, but our service centres may employ special workers.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of the G.A. programme, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Groups wishing to allow under 18’s into meetings must;

  1. Follow the Safeguarding framework for children statutory requirements.
  2. Inform the Regional Secretary.
  3. Training funded by the individual and not GA.

Under 18’s support

Referrals should be made to the National Problem Gambling Clinic.

Email: gambling.cnwl@nhs.net   Phone: 020 7381 7722


This policy is reviewed annually by Gamblers Anonymous England, Wales and Ulster (and whenever a change in legislation occurs).