Statement of Principles on Permits
The Gambling Act 2005 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 the suitability of an applicant for a permit"
The sections below detail the matters that the licensing authority will have regard to when considering applications for permits.
4.1 Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centre Gaming Machine Permit
The licensing authority will consider applications for an unlicensed family entertainment centre gaming machine permit where the applicant does not hold a premises licence but wishes to provide gaming machines. The applicant must be able to show that the premises will wholly or mainly be used for making gaming machines available for use.
When determining the suitability of an applicant for a permit the licensing authority will have regard to the licensing objectives, any relevant guidance issued by the Gambling Commission and any comments made by Lancashire Constabulary. The licensing authority expects that an applicant will be able to demonstrate that they have suitable and sufficient 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 be:
- considered on their merits;
- That there are appropriate measures and staff training in place to deal with suspected truanting school children on the premises;
- That there are suitable measures and staff training in place on how to deal with children causing perceived problems on/around premises;
- That the applicant and all staff have an understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes that may be offered at the premises
- That the applicant has no relevant convictions.
As part of the application process, the applicant will be required to submit a scale plan of the premises. The licensing authority may refuse to renew a permit if an authorised local authority officer has been refused access to the premises without reasonable excuse or where renewal would not be reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives.
4.2 Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permits
4.2.1 Automatic Entitlement
There is provision in the Act for the holder of a premises licence authorizing the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises to be entitled, on giving notification and paying the relevant fee, to provide 2 gaming machines of Categories C or D. this automatic entitlement ceases when the holder of the premises licence gives up their interest in the licence. Subsequent holders of the premises licence are required to notify the licensing authority of their intention to make gaming machines available for use and pay the prescribed fee.
The licensing authority may remove the automatic entitlement in respect of a premises where:
- The provision of such machines is not reasonably consistent with the licence objectives;
- Gaming has taken place on the premises that breaches a condition of Section 282 of the Act;
- The premises are mainly used for gaming; or
- An offence under the Act has been committed on the premises
4.2.2 Three or more machines
Where a premises wishes to have more than 2 machines an application for a licensed premises gaming machine permit is required. The licensing authority must consider such an application based on the licensing objectives, any relevant guidance issued by the Gambling Commission and "such other matters as it thinks relevant"
"Such matters" will be considered on a case by case basis but there will be regard to the need to protect children and vulnerable persons from harm or being exploited by gambling and the applicant will be expected to satisfy the licensing authority that there will be sufficient measure in place to ensure that under 18s year olds do not have access to the adult only gaming machines. Measures may include the Category C machines being placed in sight of the bar or in the sight of staff that will monitor the use of the machines. The applicant may also wish to consider the provision of information leaflets/helpline numbers for organisations such as Gamcare.
Where an applicant can demonstrate compliance with the Gambling Commission Code of Practice on Gaming Machines, grating of the application will be the normal course as long as the number of machines requested can be shown to be reasonable in relation to the size of the premises.
It should be noted that the licensing authority could decide to grant the application with a smaller number of machines and/or a different category of machines. Conditions (other than these) cannot be attached.
4.3 Prize Gaming Permit
The licensing authority is concerned that premises with the benefit of a prize gaming permit will particularly appeal to children and young persons. When considering an application the licensing authority will give significant weight to child protection issues and will need to be satisfied that the granting of a permit will not place children and young persons at risk as a consequence.
The applicant should set out the types of gaming that they intend to offer and they should also be able to demonstrate:
- There are clear policies that outline the steps to be taken to protect children from harm;
- That they understand the limits to stakes and prizes that are set out in Regulations; and
- That the gaming offered is lawful.
In determining an application for a Prize Gaming Permit the licensing authority will have regard to any relevant Gambling Commission guidance and may have regard to the licensing objectives.
4.4 Club Gaming and Club Machine Permit
Members Clubs and Miner's Welfare Institutes (but not Commercial Clubs) may apply for a club gaming permit or a club gaming machine permit.
A club gaming permit enables the premises to provide no more than 3 gaming machines from Category B3A (only one machine may be of this category), B4, C or D, equal chance gaming and games of chance as set out in the Regulations. A Club machine permit will enable the premise to provide up to 3 gaming machines from Categories B3A, B4, C or D.
Before granting either a club gaming or club gaming machine permit, the licensing authority must be satisfied that the club meets the requirements of the Act. A members club must have at least 25 members and must be established and conducted wholly or mainly for purposes other than gaming, unless the gaming is permitted by separate regulations (this is the case for bridge and whist clubs)
The licensing authority will only refuse an application where:
- The applicant does not fulfil the requirements for a members' club, commercial club or miners' welfare institute and therefore is not entitled to receive the type of permit for which it has applied;
- The applicant's premises are used wholly or mainly by children and/or young people;
- An offence under the Act or a breach of a permit has been committed by the applicant while providing gaming facilities;
- A permit held by the applicant has been cancelled in the previous ten years; or
- An objection has been lodged by the Gambling Commission or the Police.
A "fast-track" procedure is available for premises which hold a Club Premises Certificate under the Licensing Act 2003. Under this procedure there is no opportunity for the Gambling Commission or the Police to object to the application and the only grounds on which an application may be refused are:
- That the club is established primarily for gaming, other than gaming prescribed by regulation under section 266 of the Act;
- That in addition to the prescribed gaming, the applicant provides facilities for other gaming; or
- That a club gaming permit or club machine permit issued to the applicant in the last ten years has been cancelled.
4.5 Temporary Use Notices
Temporary use notices allow the use of premises for gambling where there is no premises licence, but where a gambling operator wishes to us the premises temporarily for providing facilities for gambling.
The licensing authority will only grant a temporary use notice to a person or company holding a relevant operating licence.
The Gambling Act 2005 (Temporary Use Notices) Regulations 2007 set out what form of gambling can be authorised by a temporary use notice. In summary they may only be used to authorise:
- Gambling that is authorised by the applicant's operating licence
- Gambling for a maximum of 21days in any 12month period for any/all of the named set of premises
- Facilities for equal chance gaming where the gaming in each tournament is intended to produce a single overall winner.
A temporary use notice may not be used to authorise the provision of gaming machines. In considering whether a place falls within the definition of "a set of premises" the licensing authority will consider amongst other things, the ownership, occupation and control of the premises. The licensing authority may object to notices where it appears that their effect would be to permit regular gambling in a place that could be described as one set of premises.
4.6 Occasional Use Notices
The licensing authority has very little discretion as regards these notices aside from ensuring that the statutory limit of 8 days in a calendar year is not exceeded. The licensing authority will however consider the definition of a "track" and whether the applicant is permitted to avail themselves of this notice.