Remote age verification to prevent underage alcohol sales. First results from Dutch liquor stores and the economic viability of national adoption

Joris Jasper van Hoof, Ben C.J. Velthoven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives Alcohol consumption among minors is a popular topic in the public health debate, also in the Netherlands. Compliance with the legal age limits for selling alcohol proves to be rather low. Some Dutch liquor stores (outlets with an exclusive license to sell off-premise drinks with 15% alcohol or more) have recently adopted a remote age verification system. This paper discusses the first results of the use of the system. Methods We use data from 67 liquor stores that adopted Ageviewers, a remote age verification system, in 2011. A remote validator judges the customer's age using camera footage and asks for an ID if there is any doubt. The system then sends a signal to the cash register, which approves or rejects the alcohol purchase. Results From the 367346 purchase attempts in the database, 8374 were rejected or aborted for age-related reasons. This figure amounts to an average ratio of 1.12 underage alcohol purchase attempts per sales day in each participating liquor store. Scaling up to a national level, the figures suggest at least 1 million underage alcohol purchase attempts per year in Dutch liquor stores. Discussion Underage alcohol purchases can be prevented by the nationwide adoption of remote age verification. However, given the lax enforcement of the age limits by the government, adopting such a system on a voluntary basis is generally not in the economic interest of the liquor stores. Obligatory installation of the system in off-premise alcohol outlets may pass a social cost–benefit test if certain conditions are fulfilled
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-370
JournalInternational journal of drug policy
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2015

Keywords

  • METIS-306933
  • IR-93001

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