Gambling licensing policy
Permits and Temporary or Occasional Use Notices
Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centre (FEC) gaming machine permits
Where a premises does not hold a premises licence but wishes to provide gaming machines, it may apply to the Licensing Authority for this permit.
The applicant must demonstrate that the premises will be wholly or mainly used for making gaming machines available for use. In accordance with national guidance and given that such premises are likely to appeal particularly to children, the Licensing Authority will give weight to matters relating to protection of children from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
Also, in accordance with national guidance, the Licensing Authority may ask applicants to demonstrate:
- that both the applicant and all staff have a full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes that are permissible in unlicensed FECs
- that the applicant has no relevant convictions as set out in Schedule 7 of the Gambling Act
The Licensing Authority will expect the applicant to demonstrate 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 a basic criminal record check for applicant and staff or staff training programme to include how to deal with:
- unsupervised very young children being on the premises
- children causing/perceived to be causing problems in or around the premises
- suspected truant children
The licensing authority will also expect applicants to demonstrate:
- a full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes of the gambling that is permissible in an unlicensed FEC
- that the applicant has no relevant conviction (as set out in Schedule 7 of the Gambling Act)
- that staff are trained to have a full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes
Licensing authorities may not attach conditions to these permits although the application may be refused if the licensing authority is not satisfied that the issues raised above have been addressed in the application.
(Alcohol) Licensed premises gaming machine permits
Automatic entitlement: 2 machines
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 relevant licensing authority.
If the licence holder transfers the alcohol premises licence the automatic entitlement also ceases. In these circumstances the new licence holder would need to notify the licensing authority of their intention to make the gaming machine available for use and pay the prescribed fee.
Likewise, if the alcohol licence ceases to have effect because it is suspended, any gaming machines cannot be used. The Licensing Authority may remove the automatic authorisation relating to 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 either section 279 or section 282(1) of the Act
- the premises are mainly used for gaming
- an offence under the Act has been committed on the premises
Permits for 3 or more machines
Where more than 2 machines are required, an application for a permit must be made which the Licensing Authority will consider based on the licensing objectives, any guidance issued by the Gambling Commission and “such matters as they think relevant.”
The council will consider each application on its merits, but generally the Authority will have regard to the need to protect children and vulnerable persons from harm or exploitation by gambling and so will expect the applicant to demonstrate that there will be sufficient measures in place to ensure that children and young people do not have access to the adult only gaming machines.
Such measures may include the ability to supervise machines from the bar or by supervisory staff specifically trained for that purpose.
In relation to the protection of vulnerable persons, applicants may wish to consider the provision of information such as leaflets or helpline numbers for organisations such as GamCare.
It should also be noted that the holder of a permit must comply with the code of practice for gaming machines in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence issued by the Gambling Commission.
Prize gaming permits
The Act 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 proposes to consider in determining the suitability of the applicant for a permit”.
The council will require applicants for this type of permit to set out the types of gaming that he or she is intending to offer and be able to demonstrate:
- that they understand the limits to stakes and prizes that are set out in Regulations
- that the gaming offered is within the law
- clear policies that outline the steps to be taken to protect children from harm
Club gaming permits
Club Gaming Permit (CGP) A Club Gaming Permit is available to members’ clubs, miners’ welfare institutes, but not commercial clubs.
It allows the club to offer:
- equal chance gaming such as poker and bingo
- up to three gaming machines in total of categories B3A, B4, C or D, and by agreement, only one machine can be of category B3A.
The Permit also allows games of chance which are specified as Pontoon and Chemin de Fer only.
These games are seldom played and were specified in previous Gambling legislation.
Restrictions on Club Gaming Permits are:
- no limits on stakes and prizes, except bingo where there is a stakes and prizes limit of £2,000 in any seven-day period
- limit on participation fees per person per day; £20 for bridge and / or whist (if played on a day on which no facilities of any kinds of gaming (other than bridge or whist) are provided by the relevant club on that day), £3 for other gaming (including poker) in any other circumstances
Club machine permits
A Club Machine Permit is available to members’ clubs, miners’ welfare institutes, and commercial clubs. It allows the club to offer:
- equal chance gaming such as poker and bingo
- up to three gaming machines in total of categories B3A, B4, C or D, but by agreement, only one machine can be of category B3A (B3A not permitted for commercial clubs).
Restrictions on the gaming are:
- limit on stakes and prizes for bingo; £2,000 in any seven-day period
- limit on stakes for poker; £10 per person per game, within a premises limit of £250 in stakes per day and £1,000 per week
- limit on prizes for poker; £250 per game
- limit on participation fees per person per day; £18 for bridge/whist (if played on a day on which no facilities of any kind of gaming (other than bridge or whist) are provided by the relevant club on that day), £1 for other gaming (including poker), £3 where it’s a commercial club.
The provision of equal chance gaming must comply with the Gambling Commission’s code of practice for equal chance gaming in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence.
The provision of gaming machines must comply with the code of practice for gaming machines in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence issued by the Gambling Commission.
In considering applications for permits under these provisions, the Licensing Authority will have regard to Part 25 of the national guidance issued by the Gambling Commission.
Temporary Use Notices (TUNs)
Temporary Use Notices (TUN's) should not be confused with Temporary Event Notices which are granted under the Licensing Act 2003.
A TUN allows for the temporary use of premises for gambling where there is no premises licence issued under the Gambling Act 2005. Premises that might be suitable for a TUN could include hotels, conference centres and sporting venues.
The Licensing Authority can only grant a TUN to a person or company holding a relevant operating licence, for example a non-remote casino operating licence.
The regulations state that a TUN can only be used to permit the provision of facilities for equal chance gaming where the gaming produces a single winner. In practice this often relates to poker tournaments and allows a casino operator to apply for a number of TUN's in various regional locations such as hotel event spaces, so they can hold preliminary rounds of a poker competition before holding the final in their main licensed venue.
If objections are received to a TUN, the objections will be considered at a hearing, unless all parties agree that a hearing is unnecessary. The principles applied by the Licensing Authority will be those under section 153 of the Gambling Act.
Occasional use notices
Section 39 of the Gambling Act provides that where there is betting on a track on eight days or less in a calendar year, betting may be permitted by an occasional use notice. Licensing authorities have little discretion in relation to these notices apart from ensuring that the statutory limit of 8 days in a calendar year is not exceeded.
The council will take into consideration the definition provided of a ‘track’ to determine whether the applicant is permitted to avail him/herself of the notice.