Gambling licensing policy

Last updated: 1 April 2022

Reviews of gambling licences

Requests for a review of a premises licence can be made by interested parties or responsible authorities.

The council must decide whether or not to accept review applications. These decisions will be made taking into account whether the objection or complaint relates to any of the following:

  • a breach of any relevant code of practice issued by the Gambling Commission
  • a breach of any relevant guidance issued by the Gambling Commission
  • gambling which is not reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives
  • gambling which is not in accordance with the authority’s statement of licensing policy

Any decision by the Licensing Authority to accept a formal review application is in no way a pre-determination of the outcome.

Rejecting reviews

Section 198 of the Gambling Act provides reasons for the rejection of a review application by the licensing authority where it considers that the grounds on which the review is sought:

  • do not raise an issue relevant to the principles to be applied in accordance with section 153 of the Gambling Act
  • are frivolous
  • are vexatious
  • will certainly not cause the authority to wish to take action of a kind specified in section 202(1) of the Gambling Act
  • are substantially the same as the grounds specified in an earlier application under section 197 of the Gambling Act in respect of the premises licence, or
  • are substantially the same as representations made under section 161 in relation to the application for the premises licence

Council initiated reviews

The Licensing Authority can also initiate a review of a particular premises licence, or a particular class of premises licence on the basis of any reason which it thinks is appropriate.

The ‘aim to permit’ framework provides wide scope for licensing authorities to review premises licences where there is a potential conflict with the Gambling Commission’s codes of practice, the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Licensing Authorities, the licensing objectives or this statement of policy.

The council will endeavour to actively engage with operators of licensed premises prior to discharging its powers to instigate a review. As part of this engagement process, the Licensing Authority will expect operators to make their local risk assessment available.

The council may exercise its right to instigate a review if the operator’s local risk assessment does not offer reasonable measures to address and mitigate risks.

The reviews process

Once a valid application for a review has been received by the Licensing Authority, representations can be made by responsible authorities and interested parties during a 28- day consultation period.

The Licensing Authority must carry out the review as soon as possible after this period has passed.

The purpose of the review will be to determine whether the Licensing Authority should take any action in relation to the licence.

If action is justified, the options open to the Licensing Authority are:

  • add, remove or amend a licence condition imposed by the Licensing Authority
  • exclude a default condition imposed by the Secretary of State (e.g. opening hours) or remove or amend such an exclusion
  • suspend the premises licence for a period of not exceeding three months
  • revoke the premises licence

How we decide what action to take

In determining what action, if any, should be taken following a review, the council must have regard to the principles set out in section 153 of the Gambling Act, as well as any relevant representations.

In particular, the Licensing Authority may also initiate a review of a premises licence on the grounds that a premises licence holder has not provided facilities for gambling at the premises.

This is to prevent people from applying for licences in a speculative manner without intending to use them.

Once the review has been completed, licensing authorities must, as soon as possible, notify the decision to:

  • the licence holder
  • the applicant for review (if any)
  • the Commission
  • any person who made representations
  • the chief officer of police or chief constable
  • Her Majesty’s Commissioners for Revenue and Customs