Gambling policy Part A

Enforcement and inspection functions

10.1 Licensing authorities are required by regulation under the Gambling Act 2005 to state the principles to be applied by the authority in exercising the functions under Part 15 of the Act with respect to the inspection of premises; and the powers under section 346 of the Act to institute criminal proceedings in respect of the offences specified.

10.2 The Council’s principles are that: it will be guided by the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Licensing Authorities. In line with the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Licensing Authorities and the Council corporate enforcement policy, it will endeavour to be:

  • Proportionate: regulators should only intervene when necessary: remedies should be appropriate to the risk posed, and costs identified and minimised;
  • Accountable: regulators must be able to justify decisions, and be subject to public scrutiny;
  • Consistent: rules and standards must be joined up and implemented fairly;
  • Transparent: regulators should be open, and keep regulations simple and user friendly; and
  • Targeted: regulation should be focused on the problem, and minimise side effects

The Gambling commissions ‘Licensing Conditions and codes of practise 2015 (LCCP) strengthened the social responsibility code (SR) requirements and included the requirement to produce a risk assessment on individual premises. Such risk assessments are required from new applicants, and from existing premises licensees seeking to vary a licence. The code requires all operators of; Casino’s, AGC’s, Bingo Premises, FEC’s, Betting shops and remote betting intermediaries to assess local risks to the licensing objectives, and to have policies, procedures and control measures in place to mitigate those risks.

Operators are required by the SR code to make the risk assessment available to licensing authorities when an application is submitted either for new Premises Licence or variation of a Premises Licence, or otherwise on request, and this will form part of the Licensing Authority’s inspection regime and may be requested when officers are investigating complaints.

The code requires the Licensing Authority to set out matters they expect the operator to take account of in the risk assessment in its statement of policy and this Licensing Authority will expect the local risk assessment to consider as a minimum the following.

  • Information held by the licensee regarding self-exclusions and incidences of underage gambling,
  • Gaming trends that may reflect benefit payments
  • Arrangement for localised exchange of information regarding self-exclusions and gaming trends.
  • Urban setting such as proximity to schools, playgrounds, leisure/community centres and other areas where children will gather,
  • Range of facilities in proximity to the licensed premises such as other gambling outlets, banks, post offices, refreshment and entertainment type facilities
  • Known problems in the area such as problems arising from street drinkers, youths participating in anti-social behaviour, drug dealing activities, other crime and/ or disorder. The demographics of the area in relation to vulnerable groups and how they are to be protected.

The Licensing Authority would recommend that the following matters are considered by operators when making their risk assessment.

Matters relating to children and young persons, including;

  • Institutions, places or areas where presence of children and young persons should be expected such as schools, youth clubs, parks, playgrounds and entertainment venues such as bowling allies, cinemas etc.
  • Any premises where children congregate including bus stops, café’s, shops, and any other place where children are attracted,
  • Areas that are prone to issues of youths participating in anti-social behaviour, including such activities as graffiti/tagging, underage drinking, etc.
  • Recorded incidents of attempted underage gambling Matters relating to vulnerable adults, including;
  • Information held by the licensee regarding self-exclusions and incidences of underage gambling,
  • Gaming trends that may mirror days for financial payments such as pay days or benefit payments 
  • Arrangement for localised exchange of information regarding self-exclusions and gaming trends.
  • Proximity of premises which may be frequented by vulnerable people such as hospitals, residential care homes, medical facilities, doctor’s surgeries, council housing offices, addiction clinics or help centres, places where alcohol or drug dependant people may congregate, etc.

Other issues that may be considered could include: Matters of faith, including all religious or faith denominations including proximity to churches, mosques, temples or any other place of worship.

This list is not exhaustive and other factors not in this list that are identified must be taken into consideration

10.3 During the lifetime of this policy, it is our intention to consider local area profiles which will set out the local risks and concerns in relation to the licensing objectives. These will be available as map overlays in a GIS format. The council’s regulatory approach to Gambling Act applications may be influenced by the type of premises and/or its position in the borough, for example known issues with problem gambling, the interaction between the night time economy and gambling and any crime patterns or antisocial behaviour linked to gambling may be taken into consideration. In addition the socio economic makeup of the area, density of gambling premises and specific types of gambling may also be considered.

10.4 This Council recognises the Department for Business Innovation and Skills’ “Regulators Code” which came into force on 6th April 2014, and its standards have been integrated into our regulatory service standards and our corporate enforcement policy.

10.5 With regard to the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Licensing Authorities the Council will endeavour to avoid duplication with other regulatory regimes so far as possible.

10.6 The Council will also, as recommended by the Gambling Commission’s Guidance for Local Authorities, adopt a risk-based inspection programme. Premises will be assessed and those that are well managed and maintained will not require the same number of inspections as problem or high-risk premises. In determining the level of risk this authority would be interested to hear from persons who have an opinion on what criteria should be used to identify the level of risk. Applicants should be aware of the ‘Code of practice for gaming machines in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence’ and adherence to the code will be monitored during risk rated inspections.

10.7 The inspection of operator’s risk assessments will also take place during inspections or at any other time that it is requested by the licensing authority. As the licensing authority, the Council would also expect data Page 16 of 46 Page 16 of 46 on test purchasing, self-exclusions and underage attempts to gamble to be shared on request following concerns having been raised with regard to an establishment.

10.8 The main enforcement and compliance role for the Council in terms of the Gambling Act 2005 will be to ensure compliance with the Premises Licences and other permissions that it authorises. The Gambling Commission will be the enforcement body for the Operator and Personal Licences. It is also worth noting that concerns about manufacture, supply or repair of gaming machines will not be dealt with by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council but will be notified to the Gambling Commission.

10.9 The Council intends to use appropriate enforcement and will ensure adequate resources are available to do this. Once licensed, it is essential that premises are monitored to ensure that they are run in accordance with their operating schedules, in compliance with the specific requirements of the Act and in compliance with any licence conditions. It will also be important to monitor the Borough for unlicensed premises.

10.10 The Council’s enforcement policy available upon request to the licensing department at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, The Council Offices, The Campus, WGC, Hertfordshire AL8 6AE. Or on the council internet site at