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Gambling Act 2005 - Statement of Licensing Principals January 2022

Part C - Permits and notices

Permits

The Act introduces a range of permits for gambling which are designed as a light touch approach to low level ancillary gambling.

Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centre Gaming Machine Permits - Where a premise does not hold a Premises Licence but wishes to provide gaming machines, it may apply to the Licensing Authority for this permit. It should be noted that the applicant must show that the premises will be wholly or mainly used for making gaming machines available for use.

The Gambling Act 2005 states that a Licensing Authority may prepare a statement of principles that they propose to consider in determining the suitability of an applicant for a permit and in preparing this statement, and/or considering applications, it need not (but may) have regard to the licensing objectives and shall have regard to any relevant guidance issued by the Commission under section 25. The Commission's Guidance for local authorities also states: "In their three year licensing policy statement, licensing authorities may include a statement of principles that they propose to apply when exercising their functions in considering applications for permits licensing authorities will want to give weight to child protection issues."

Guidance also states: "...An application for a permit may be granted only if the Licensing Authority is satisfied that the premises will be used as an unlicensed FEC, and if the chief officer of police has been consulted on the application, Licensing authorities might wish to consider asking applicants to demonstrate:

  • A full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes of the gambling that is permissible in unlicensed FECs;
  • That the applicant has no relevant convictions (those that are set out in Schedule 7 of the Act; and
  • That staff are trained to have a full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes.

It should be noted that a Licensing Authority cannot attach conditions to this type of permit. This Authority will expect the applicant to show that there are policies and procedures in place to protect children from harm. Harm in this context is not limited to harm from gambling but includes wider child protection considerations.

The efficiency of such policies and procedures will each be considered on their merits; however, they may include:

  • appropriate measures / training for staff as regards suspected truant school children on the premises
  • measures / training covering how staff would deal with unsupervised very young children being on the premises, or children causing perceived problems on / around the premises
  • the arrangements for supervision of the premise including use of CCTV if appropriate

(Alcohol) Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permits- There is provision in the Act for premises licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises, to automatically have 2 gaming machines, of categories C and/or D.  The premises merely need to notify the Licensing Authority. The Licensing Authority can remove the automatic authorisation in respect of any particular premises if:

  • provision of the machines is not reasonably consistent with the pursuit of the licensing objectives;
  • gaming has taken place on the premises that breaches a condition of section 282 of the Gambling Act (i.e. that written notice has been provided to the Licensing Authority, that a fee has been provided and that any relevant code of practice issued by the Commission about the location and operation of the machine has been complied with)
  • the premises are mainly used for gaming; or
  • an offence under the Gambling Act has been committed on the premises 

If a premises wishes to have more than 2 machines, then it needs to apply for a permit and the Licensing Authority must consider that application based upon the licensing objectives, any guidance issued by the Commission issued under Section 25 of the Gambling Act 2005, and "such matters as they think relevant."

This Licensing Authority considers that "such matters" will be decided on a case by case basis but generally there will be regard to the need to protect children and vulnerable persons from harm or being exploited by gambling and will expect the applicant to satisfy the authority that there will be sufficient measures to ensure that under 18 year olds do not have access to the adult only gaming machines. Measures which will satisfy the authority that there will be no access may include the adult machines being in sight of the bar, or in the sight of staff, who will monitor that the machines are not being used by those under 18. Notices and signage may also be of help. As regards the protection of vulnerable persons, applicants may wish to consider the provision of information leaflets/helpline numbers for organisations such as GamCare

It is recognised that some alcohol licensed premises may apply for a premises licence for their non-alcohol licensed areas. Any such application would need to be applied for and dealt with as an Adult Entertainment Centre premises licence.

It should be noted that the Licensing Authority can decide to grant the application with a smaller number of machines and/or a different category of machines than that applied for. Conditions (other than these) cannot be attached.

It should also be noted that the holder of a permit must comply with any Code of Practice issued by the Commission about the location and operation of the machine.

Prize Gaming Permits-The Gambling Act 2005 states that a Licensing Authority may "prepare a statement of principles that they propose to apply in exercising their functions under this Schedule" which "may, in particular, specify matters that the Licensing Authority propose to consider in determining the suitability of the applicant for a permit".

This Authority will expect the applicant to show that there are policies and procedures in place to protect children from harm. Harm in this context is not limited to harm from gambling but includes wider child protection considerations.

The efficiency of such policies and procedures will each be considered on their merits; however, they may include:

  • appropriate measures / training for staff as regards suspected truant school children on the premises
  • measures / training covering how staff would deal with unsupervised very young children being on the premises, or children causing perceived problems on / around the premises
  • the arrangements for supervision of the premise including use of CCTV if appropriate

This Authority will also expect the applicant to set out the types of gaming that he or she is intending to offer and that the applicant should be able to demonstrate:

  • that they understand the limits to stakes and prizes that are set out in Regulations;
  • and that the gaming offered is within the law.

In making its decision on an application for this permit the Licensing Authority does not need to (but may) have regard to the licensing objectives but must have regard to any Commission guidance.

It should be noted that there are conditions in the Gambling Act 2005 by which the permit holder must comply, but that the Licensing Authority cannot attach conditions. The conditions in the Act are:

  • the limits on participation fees, as set out in regulations, must be complied with;
  • all chances to participate in the gaming must be allocated on the premises on which the gaming is taking place and on one day; the game must be played and completed on the day the chances are allocated; and the result of the game must be made public in the premises on the day that it is played;
  • the  prize  for  which  the  game  is  played  must  not  exceed  the  amount  set  out  in regulations (if a money prize), or the prescribed value (if non-monetary prize); and
  • participation in the gaming must not entitle the player to take part in any other gambling.

Club Gaming and Club Machines Permits-Members Clubs and Miners' welfare institutes (but not Commercial Clubs) may apply for a Club Gaming Permit or a Club Gaming machines permit. The Club Gaming Permit will enable the premises to provide gaming machines (3 machines of categories B, C or D), equal chance gaming and games of chance as prescribed in regulations. A Club Gaming machine permit will enable the premises to provide gaming machines (3 machines of categories B, C or D).

Commission Guidance states: "Members clubs must have at least 25 members and be established and conducted "wholly or mainly" for purposes other than gaming unless the gaming is permitted by separate regulations. The Secretary of State has made regulations and these cover bridge and whist clubs, which replicates the position under the Gaming Act 1968. A members' club must be permanent in nature, not established to make commercial profit, and controlled by its members equally. Examples include working men's clubs, branches of Royal British Legion and clubs with political affiliations."

The Licensing Authority will therefore require applicants for permits to supply sufficient information and documents to enable it to satisfy itself that the club meets the requirements of the Act to obtain a Club Gaming Permit.

The Commission Guidance also notes that licensing authorities may only refuse an application on the grounds that:

  • the applicant does not fulfil the requirements for a members' or commercial club or miners' welfare institute and therefore is not entitled to receive the type of permit for which it has applied;
  • the applicant's premises are used wholly or mainly by children and/or young persons;
  • an offence under the Act or a breach of a permit has been committed by the applicant while providing gaming facilities;
  • a permit held by the applicant has been cancelled in the previous ten years; or
  • an objection has been lodged by the Commission or the police.

Clubs must have regard to their obligation to protect children and vulnerable persons from harm or being exploited by gambling. They must provide sufficient measures to ensure that under 18 year olds do not use the adult only gaming machines. These measures may include:

  • the machines being in close proximity to the bar, or in any other area where they are capable of being adequately supervised
  • notices and signage
  • the provision of information leaflets / helpline numbers for organisations such as GamCare.

There is also a 'fast-track' procedure available under the Act for premises that hold a Club Premises Certificate under the Licensing Act 2003. As the Commission's Guidance to Licensing Authorities states: "Under the fast-track procedure there is no opportunity for objections to be made by the Commission or the police, and the ground upon which an authority can refuse a permit are reduced." and "The grounds on which an application under the process may be refused are:

  • that the club is established primarily for gaming, other than gaming prescribed under schedule 12;
  • that in addition to the prescribed gaming, the applicant provides facilities for other gaming; or
  • that a club gaming permit or club machine permit issued to the applicant in the last ten years has been cancelled."

There are statutory conditions on club gaming permits that no child uses a category B or C machine on the premises and that the holder complies with any relevant provision of a code of practice about the location and operation of gaming machines.

Notices

Temporary Use Notices -allow the use of premises for gambling where there is no premises licence but where a gambling operator wishes to use the premises temporarily for providing facilities for gambling. Premises that might be suitable for Temporary Use Notice, according to the Commission, would include hotels, conference centres and sporting venues.

The Licensing Authority can only grant a Temporary Use Notice to a person or company holding a relevant operating licence, i.e. a non-remote casino operating licence

The Secretary of State has the power to determine what form of gambling and statutory limits can be authorised by Temporary Use notices. This Licensing Authority expects to object to notices where it appears that their effect would be to permit regular gambling in a place that could be described as one set of premises, as recommended in the Commissions Guidance to Licensing Authorities.

Occasional Use Notices (Tracks) - The Licensing Authority has very little discretion as regards these notices aside from ensuring that the statutory limit of 8 days in a calendar year is not exceeded. The Licensing Authority will though consider the definition of a 'track' and whether the applicant is permitted to avail him/herself of the notice.

Small society lottery registrations

A lottery generally refers to schemes under which prizes are distributed by chance among entrants who have given some form of value for their chance to take part.

The Act creates two principal classes of lotteries: licensed lotteries and exempt lotteries. Licensed lotteries are large society lotteries and lotteries run for the benefit of local authorities. These will be regulated by the Commission. Within the class of exempt lotteries there are four sub classes, one of which is small society lotteries.

A small society lottery is a lottery promoted on behalf of a non-commercial society as defined in the Act which also meets specific financial requirements set out in the Act. These will be administered by the council for small societies who have a principal office in Stockton and want to run such lottery. A lottery is small if the total value of tickets put on sale in a single lottery is £20,000 or less and the aggregate value of the tickets put on sale in a calendar year is £250,000 or less.

To be 'non-commercial' a society must be established and conducted:

  • For charitable purposes,
  • For the purpose of enabling participation in, or supporting, sport, athletics or a cultural activity; or
  • For any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain.

The other types of exempt lotteries are 'incidental non-commercial lotteries', 'private lotteries' and 'customer lotteries'. This includes raffles held at non-commercial events such as school fetes. If you require guidance on the different categories of lotteries please contact the Licensing Service.

The National lottery is not licensed by the Gambling Act 2005 .