Gambling licensing policy

Last updated: 1 April 2022

How we decide if premises' are "ready for gambling"

A recent high court judgement confirmed that you can apply for a gambling premises licence before construction of the premises has been completed.

The Guidance states that a licence to use premises for gambling should only be issued in relation to premises that the licensing authority can be satisfied are going to be ready to be used for gambling in the reasonably near future, consistent with the scale of building or alterations required before the premises are brought into use.

An application for a provisional statement should be made in cases where construction of a premises is not yet complete or the building needs to be altered, or if the applicant does not yet have a right of occupation.

In deciding whether a premises licence can be granted where there are outstanding construction or alteration works at a premises, the authority will determine applications on their merits, applying a two stage consideration process:

  1. Whether the premises ought to be permitted to be used for gambling.
  2. In deciding whether or not to grant the application, whether appropriate conditions can be put in place to cater for the situation that the premises are not yet in the state in which they ought to be before gambling takes place.
    For example, if a reasonably accurate statement can be provided as to when the works will be completed the licence may be issued with a future commencement date or a condition which states that the licence shall not commence until the premises have been completed in all respects in accordance with the scale plans that accompanied the licence application.

Applicants should note that the Licensing Authority is entitled to decide that it is appropriate to grant a licence subject to conditions, but it is not obliged to grant a licence.

More detailed examples of the circumstances in which such a licence may be granted can be found in Part 7 of the Gambling Commission guidance.