Gambling policy Part B
Premises Licences will be subject to the requirements set out in the Gambling Act 2005 and regulations, as well as specific mandatory and default conditions which will be detailed in regulations issued by the Secretary of State. Licensing authorities are able to exclude default conditions and also attach others, where it is believed to be proportionate and relevant.
The Council expects both applicants and licensees to undertake local risk assessments to identify risks to the licensing objectives posed by the general location and by the provision of facilities in the premises concerned, and then to propose and implement measures to mitigate those risks. Licensees should share their risk assessment with licensing authorities when applying for a premises licence or applying for a variation to existing licensed premises, or otherwise on request.
1 Licensees must assess the local risks to the licensing objectives posed by the provision of gambling facilities at each of their premises, and have policies, procedures and control measures to mitigate those risks. In making risk assessments, licensees must take into account relevant matters identified in this licensing authority’s statement of licensing policy and any local area profiles published by the Council.
2 Licensees must review (and update as necessary) their local risk assessments: a to take account of significant changes in local circumstances, including any identified in this policy; b when there are significant changes at a licensee’s premises that may affect their mitigation of local risks; c when applying for a variation of a premises licence; and d in any case, undertake a local risk assessment when applying for a new premises licence. Decision making The Council is aware that in making decisions about premises licences it should aim to permit the use of premises for gambling in so far as it thinks it: (i) in accordance with any relevant code of practice issued by the Gambling Commission (ii) in accordance with any relevant guidance issued by the Gambling Commission (iii) reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives (subject to (i) and (ii)) and (iv) in accordance with the authority’s statement of licensing policy (subject to (i) – (iii)) Page 19 of 46 Page 19 of 46 In making such determinations, the Council will have regard to risk assessments prepared by the applicant in accordance with this policy. It is appreciated that in accordance with the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Licensing Authorities “moral objections to gambling are not a valid reason to reject applications for premises licences” (except as regards any ‘no casino resolution’) and also that unmet demand is not a criterion for the Council to consider. Definition of Premises In the Act “premises” is defined as including “any place”. Different premises licences cannot apply in respect of single premises at different times. However, it is possible for a single building to be subject to more than one premises licence, provided they are for different parts of the building and the different parts of the building can reasonably be regarded as being different premises. This approach has been taken to allow large multiple unit premises to obtain discreet premises licences, where appropriate safeguards are in place. In the case of sub divisions of a single building or plot mandatory conditions relating to access between premises will be observed. The Gambling Commission states in the fifth edition of its Guidance to Licensing Authorities that; “in most cases the expectation is that a single storey building/ plot will be the subject of an application for a licence for example 32 High Street. But that does not mean that 32 High Street cannot be the subject of separate premises licences for the basement and ground floor, if they are configured acceptably. Whether different parts of a building can properly be regarded as being separate will depend on the circumstances. The location of the premises will clearly be an important consideration and the suitability of the division is likely to be a matter for discussion between the operator and the licensing officer. However the Commission does not consider that areas of a building that are artificially or temporarily separated, for example by ropes or moveable partitions, can properly be regarded as different premises.” Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council takes particular note of the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Licensing Authorities which states that; licensing authorities should take particular care in considering applications for multiple licences for a building and those relating to a discreet part of a building used for other non-gambling purposes. In particular they should be aware of the following: The third licensing objective seeks to protect children from being harmed by gambling. In practice that means not only preventing them from taking part in gambling, but also preventing them from being in close proximity to gambling. Therefore premises should be configured so that children are not invited to participate in, have accidental access to or closely observe gambling where they are prohibited from participating. Entrances and exits from parts of a building covered by one or more licences should be separate and identifiable so that the separation of different premises is not compromised and that people do not ‘drift’ into a gambling area. In this context it should normally be possible to access Page 20 of 46 Page 20 of 46 the premises without going through other licensed premises or premises with a permit. Customers should be able to participate in the activity named on the premises licence. The Guidance also gives a list of factors which the Council should be aware of, which may include; Do the premises have a separate registration for business rates? Is the premises’ neighbouring premises owned by the same person or someone else? Can each of the premises be accessed from the street or a public passageway? Can the premises only be accessed from any other gambling premises? This authority will consider these and other relevant factors in making its decision, depending on all the circumstances of the case. In particular, the fact that an adequate architectural separation is proposed will not be conclusive as to whether two premises are thereby created. In all cases, the authority will consider whether the proposal can genuinely and sensibly be regarded as multiple rather than single premises. The Gambling Commission’s relevant access provisions for each premises type are reproduced below. Casinos The principal access/entrance to the premises must be from a street (as defined at paragraph 7.23 of the Guidance) No entrance to a casino must be from premises that are used wholly or mainly by children and/or young persons No customer must be able to enter a casino directly from any other premises which hold a gambling premises licence. Adult Gaming Centre No customer must be able to access the premises directly from any other licensed gambling premises. Betting Shops Access must be from a street (para 7.23 Guidance to Licensing Authorities) or from another premises with a betting premises licence. No direct access from a betting shop to another premises used for the retail sale of merchandise or services. In effect there cannot be an entrance to a betting shop from a shop of any kind and it is not permissible to have a betting shop at the back of a café- the whole area would have to be licensed. Bingo premises No customer must be able to access the premises directly from: Page 21 of 46 Page 21 of 46 a casino an adult gaming centre a betting premises, other than a track Family Entertainment Centre No customer must be able to access the premises directly from: a casino an adult gaming centre a betting premises, other than a track Part 7 of the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Licensing Authorities contains further guidance on this issue, which this authority will also take into account in its decision making. Premises “ready for gambling” The Guidance states that a licence to use a premises for gambling should only be issued in relation to premises that the Council 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 alteration required before the premises are brought into use. If the construction of a premises is not yet complete, or if they need alteration, or if the applicant does not yet have the right to occupy them, then an application for a provisional licence should be made instead. Part 11 of the Guidance gives more information about provisional statements. In deciding whether a premises licence can be granted where there are outstanding construction or alteration works at a premises, this authority will determine applications on their merits, applying a two stage consideration process:- First, whether the premises ought to be permitted to be used for gambling Second, 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. Applicants should note that whilst the Council is entitled to decide that it is appropriate to grant a licence (subject to conditions) it is not however obliged to grant such a licence. More detailed examples of the circumstances in which such a licence may be granted can be found at paragraphs 7.58-7.65 of the guidance. Location The Council is aware that demand issues cannot be considered with regard to the location of premises licences but that considerations in terms of the licensing objectives can. In accordance with the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Licensing Authorities, this authority will pay particular attention to the protection of children and vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling, as well as issues of crime and disorder. Should any Page 22 of 46 Page 22 of 46 specific policy be decided upon as regards areas where gambling premises should not be located, this policy statement will be updated. It should be noted that any such policy does not preclude any application being made and each application will be decided on its merits, with the onus upon the applicant showing how the concerns can be overcome. Planning The Gambling Commission Guidance to Licensing Authorities states at paragraph 7.58 “In determining licence applications [The Council] should not take into consideration matters that are not related to gambling and the licensing objectives. One example would be the likelihood of the applicant obtaining planning permission or building regulations approval for their proposal. The Council will not take into account irrelevant matters in accordance with the above guidance. In addition this authority notes the following excerpt from the guidance. The guidance at 7.65 states “when dealing with a premises licence application for finished buildings, the licensing authority should not take into account whether those buildings have or comply with the necessary planning or building consents nor should fire or health and safety risks be taken into account. Those matters should be dealt with under relevant planning control, building and other regulations, and must not form part of the consideration for the premises licence. Section 210 of the 2005 Act prevents licensing authorities taking into account the likelihood of the proposal by the applicant obtaining planning or building consent when considering a premises licence application. Equally the grant of a gambling premises licence does not prejudice or prevents any action that may be appropriate under the law relating to planning or building.” Duplication with other regulatory regimes The Council will seek to avoid any duplication with other statutory / regulatory systems where possible, including planning. In considering applications for premises licences, this authority will not consider whether the premises are likely to be awarded planning or building consent. This authority will listen to, and consider carefully, any concerns about conditions, which cannot be met by licensees due to planning restrictions, should such a situation arise. When dealing with a premises licence for finished buildings, this authority will not take into account whether those buildings have to comply with the necessary planning or building consents. Fire or health and safety risks will not be taken into account, as these matters are dealt with under relevant planning control, buildings and other regulations and must not form part of the consideration for the premises licence. Licensing objectives Premises licences granted must be reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives. With regard to these objectives, The Council has considered the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to local authorities and some comments are made below. Page 23 of 46 Page 23 of 46 Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime – This licensing authority is aware that the Gambling Commission will be taking a leading role in preventing gambling from being a source of crime. The Gambling Commission's Guidance does however envisage that licensing authorities should pay attention to the proposed location of gambling premises in terms of this licensing objective. Thus, where an area has known high levels of organised crime this authority will consider carefully whether gambling premises are suitable to be located there and whether conditions may be suitable such as the provision of door supervisors. This licensing authority is aware of the distinction between disorder and nuisance and will consider factors such as whether police assistance was required and how threatening the behaviour was to those who could see it, so as to make that distinction. Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way The Council has noted that the Gambling Commission in paragraph 5.11 of its Guidance to Licensing Authorities has stated that “Generally the Commission would not expect licensing authorities to find themselves dealing with issues of fairness and openness frequently. Fairness and openness is likely to be a matter for either the way specific gambling products are provided and therefore subject to the operating licence, or will be in relation to the suitability and actions of an individual and therefore subject to the personal licence.” However, if this authority suspects that gambling is not being carried out in a fair and open way this will be brought to the attention of the Gambling Commission. For local authorities with tracks there is more of a role which does not currently form part of this policy. Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling - The Council has noted the Gambling Commission’s Guidance that this objective means preventing children taking part in gambling (as well as restriction of advertising so that gambling products are not aimed at or are, particularly attractive to children). The licensing authority will therefore consider, as suggested in the Gambling Commission’s Guidance, whether specific measures are required at particular premises, with regard to this licensing objective. Appropriate measures may include supervision of entrances/ machines, segregation of areas etc. This licensing authority is also aware of the Gambling Commission Codes of Practice as regards this licensing objective, in relation to specific premises. As regards the term “vulnerable persons” it is noted that the Gambling Commission does not seek to offer a definition but states that “it will for regulatory purposes assume that this group includes people who gamble more than they want to; people who gamble beyond their means; and people who may not be able to make informed or balanced decisions about gambling due to a mental impairment, alcohol or drugs.” Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council will consider this licensing objective on a case by case basis. Page 24 of 46 Page 24 of 46 Conditions – Any conditions attached to licences will be proportionate and will be: Relevant to the need to make the proposed building suitable as a gambling facility; Directly related to the premises (including the locality and any identified local risks) and the type of licence applied for and the type of licence applied for; Fairly and reasonably related to the scale and type of premises; and Reasonable in all other respects. Decisions on individual conditions will be made on a case by case basis, although there will be a number of measures this licensing authority will consider utilising should there be a relevant need, such as the use of supervisors, appropriate signage for adult only areas etc. There are specific comments made in this regard under some of the licence types below. This licensing authority will also expect the licence applicant to offer his/her own suggestions as to the way in which the licensing objectives can be met effectively. The Council will also consider specific measures which may be required for buildings which are subject to multiple premises licences. With the exception of bingo clubs, tracks on race days and licensed FECs children will not be permitted to enter licensed gambling premises. Therefore businesses will need to consider carefully how they wish to configure their buildings if they are seeking to develop multi-purpose sites. The third licensing objective seeks to protect children from being harmed or exploited by gambling. In practise this means not only preventing them from taking part in gambling, but also prevents them from being in close proximity to gambling. Therefore premises should be configured so that children are not invited to participate in, have accidental access to or closely observe gambling where they are prohibited from participating. Such measures may include the supervision of entrances which must be distinct for each type of premises; segregation of gambling from nongambling areas frequented by children; and the supervision of gaming machines in non-adult gaming specific premises in order to pursue the licensing objectives. These matters are in accordance with the Gambling Commission’s Guidance. The Council will also ensure that where category C or above machines are on offer in premises to which children are admitted: all such machines are located in an area of the premises which is separated from the remainder of the premises by a physical barrier which is effective to prevent access other than through a designated entrance; only adults are admitted to the area where these machines are located; access to the area where the machines are located is supervised to ensure children cannot enter; Page 25 of 46 Page 25 of 46 the area where these machines are located is arranged so that it can be observed by the staff or the licence holder either within sight or monitored by CCTV; and at the entrance to, and inside any such area there are prominently displayed notices indicating that access to the area is prohibited to persons under 18. These conditions will apply to premises including buildings where multiple premises licences are applicable. It is noted that there are conditions, which the Council cannot attach to premises licences which are: any condition on the premises licence which makes it impossible to comply with an operating licence condition conditions relating to gaming machine categories, numbers, or method of operation; conditions which provide that membership of a club or body be required (the Gambling Act 2005 specifically removes the membership requirement for casino and bingo clubs and this provision prevents it being reinstated and conditions in relation to stakes, fees, winning or prizes Door Supervisors - The Gambling Commission advises in its Guidance to Licensing Authorities that if a licensing authority is concerned that a premises may attract disorder or be subject to attempts at unauthorised access (for example by children and young persons) then it may require that the entrances to the premises are controlled by a door supervisor, and is entitled to impose a condition on a premises licence to this effect. Where it is decided that supervision of entrances/machines is appropriate for particular cases a consideration of whether these need to be SIA licensed or not will be necessary. It will not be automatically assumed that they need to be licensed, as the statutory requirements for different types of premises vary (Guidance, Part 33)