A PUB boss has been convicted of operating an illegal gambling racket.
The Gambling Commission highlighted in the lead up to this week’s Grand National.
Cedric Fitzpatrick, 64, was manager of the now closed White House Pub, Sutton Road, in 2012 when the premises was subject to a multi-agency investigation.
The operation found about 700 completed betting slips and a diary containing details of bets placed between December 2011 and July 2012.
The investigation involved officers from St Helens Council, the Gambling Commission, Merseyside Police and HM Revenue and Customs.
Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to providing illegal gambling under section 37 of the Gambling Act 2005 at St Helens Magistrates’ Court.
He was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £930.
HM Revenue and Customs also imposed back-dated tax of £2,952 and penalties totalling £9,750 on Fitzpatrick for general betting duty, failure to declare betting income and submit betting duty returns.
As part of the investigation a licensed bookmaker, Terence Crehan of Betterbet TC Ltd was formally warned by the Gambling Commission for assisting in providing facilities for unlicensed bookmaking at the White House.
In a statement, the Commission said it had worked consistently with licensing authorities and the police to warn bookmakers, publicans and club officials that commercial betting is not allowed in pubs and clubs.
The Grand National is expected to be the busiest day’s trading of the year across more than 9,000 licensed betting premises and websites available to consumers in Great Britain.
The Commission’s Director of Regulatory Operations, Nick Tofiluk, said: “Many people enjoy a bet on the Grand National and there is plenty of choice and competition in the licensed market.
“This case is a timely reminder that we expect those managing alcohol licensed premises to avoid offering betting facilities in pubs – even on a day when public interest in betting is high.
“If individuals persist in illegally offering pub betting the Commission and its local partners will take significant action against them.”