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Back To TopIntroduction

26.1 It is important to remember that gambling must remain ancillary to the main purpose of the premises and the exemptions and permits are reliant on the premises holding a valid alcohol licence. Experience indicates that, in circumstances where breaches of gambling regulations occur, licensing authorities have a powerful lever in securing compliance, due to their ability to review the alcohol licence.

26.2 S.279-284 of the Act only apply to premises in respect of which an on-premises alcohol licence (in England and Wales) or a premises licence under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 has been issued - provided that, in the case of Scotland, it is not a licence authorising the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises only - and that have a bar at which alcohol is served, without a requirement that alcohol is served only with food. So any hotel, restaurant or pub that has a bar can offer gambling under Part 12 of the Act, but hotels and restaurants that serve alcohol only with food cannot.

26.3 Licensing authorities might seek to reassure themselves that a premises has not applied for an alcohol licence under the Licensing Act 2003/Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 with the sole aim of benefiting from the associated machine and exempt gaming entitlements. It is expected that all gambling made available on the premises will remain ancillary to the premises main activity. Where concerns exist that this might not be the case, and the premises is primarily used to make gambling available, the licensing authority might choose to exercise its powers under s.284 of the Act and remove the exemption.

Back To TopAutomatic entitlement to two machines

26.4 S.282 of the Act provides an automatic entitlement to alcohol licence holders to make available two gaming machines (of category C or D) for use in alcohol-licensed premises. To take advantage of this entitlement, the person who holds the on-premises alcohol licence or relevant Scottish licence must give notice to the licensing authority of their intention to make gaming machines available for use, and must pay the prescribed fee (as set by regulations) (SI No 1832/2007: The Gaming Machines in Alcohol Licensed Premises (Notification Fee)(England and Wales) Regulations 2007 or SSI No 311/2007: The Gambling Act 2005 (Fees No. 2)(Scotland) Regulations 2007). If the person ceases to be the holder of the relevant alcohol licence for the premises, the automatic entitlement to the two gaming machines also ceases. Whoever applies for the new premises alcohol licence would also need to apply under s.282(2). A renewal of the automatic entitlement is required only where there is a change in the alcohol licence premises holder (either due to a transfer of licence or application for new licence), not for a change in designated premises supervisor/designated premises manager alone. As there is no requirement to stipulate whether the alcohol licensed premises intends to site category C or D or one of each category,  a re-notification should not be required for a change in the mix of gaming machines made available provided it remains within the automatic entitlement to two machines of either category C or D.

26.5 This is not an authorisation procedure. Licensing authorities have no discretion to consider the notification or to turn it down. The only matter to determine is whether the person applying for the automatic gaming machine entitlement is the holder of the alcohol licence and whether the prescribed fee has been paid. There is no statutory requirement for pubs and other alcohol-licensed premises to display a notice of their automatic entitlement to gaming machines.

Removal of exemption

26.6 Licensing authorities can remove the automatic authorisation in respect of any particular premises by making an order under s.284 of the Act. They can do so 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 s.282, for example the gaming machines have been made available in a way that does not comply with requirements on the location and operation of gaming machines
  • the premises are mainly used for gaming
  • an offence under the Act has been committed on the premises.

26.7 Before making an order, the licensing authority must give the licensee at least 21 days’ notice of the intention to make the order and consider any representations that they may make. The licensing authority must hold a hearing if the licensee so requests and must comply with any other procedural requirements set out in regulations. If there is no appeal, the order will take effect 21 days after notice of the intention was given. The authority must give the licensee a copy of the order and written reasons for making it. The licensee may appeal to the Magistrates’ court or the Sheriff.

Back To TopLicensed premises gaming machine permits

26.8 Licensing authorities may issue licensed premises gaming machine permits for any number of category C or D machines in licensed premises (alcohol licensed premises as described in s.277 of the Act). Where a permit authorises the making available of a specified number of gaming machines in particular premises, this will effectively replace, and not be in addition to, any automatic entitlement to two machines under s.282 of the Act.

26.9 Holders of licensed premises gaming machine permits are required to comply with a code of practice issued by the Commission on the location and operation of machines, Code of practice for gaming machines in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence.

26.10 The detail of how to apply for licensed premises gaming machine permits is set out in Schedule 13 of the Act (for England and Wales) and in the Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permits (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (for Scotland) (SI 505/2007).

26.11 Applications must be made by a person or organisation that holds the on-premises alcohol licence for the premises for which the application is made. An application may not be made if a premises licence under the Act is in effect at the premises. The application must be made to an authority in whose area the premises are wholly or partly situated. The Act requires an application to include information on the premises to which it relates and the number and category of gaming machines sought. Apart from this it is for the licensing authority to direct the form and manner of the application and what additional information and documents are required.

26.12 In determining an application, the licensing authority must have regard to the licensing objectives and to this guidance. They may also take account of any other matters that are considered relevant to the application. The application does not require notification to the Commission or police before determination, however, licensing authorities are able to specify this as a requirement should they see fit.

26.13 The licensing authority may grant or refuse an application. In granting the application, it may vary the number and category of gaming machines authorised by the permit. If granted, the licensing authority must issue the permit as soon as possible after that. Where they refuse the application they must notify the applicant as soon as possible, setting out the reasons for refusal. The licensing authority must not refuse an application, or grant it for a different number or category of machines, unless they have notified the applicant of their intention to do so and given the applicant an opportunity to make representations, orally, in writing, or both.

26.14 The permit must specify the person or organisation to which it is issued, the number and category of gaming machines for which the permit has effect, the address of the premises and the date on which it takes effect.

26.15 The permit holder can apply to the licensing authority to amend the permit to reflect a change in the holder’s name. They must comply with the request, provided the prescribed fee is paid.

26.16 The permit holder must keep the permit on the premises and it must be produced on request for inspection by a constable, enforcement officer or local authority officer. Not to do so is an offence. If the permit is lost, stolen or damaged, the holder may apply to the issuing authority for a copy, accompanied by the prescribed fee.

26.17 There are no renewal provisions for this class of permit because they are indefinite and continue in force for so long as the premises continues to have an alcohol licence and the holder of the permit continues to hold that licence. The permit can lapse if the holder surrenders it to the licensing authority.

26.18 The holder may apply to vary the permit by changing the number and/or category of machines authorised by it.

26.19 The licensing authority is able to cancel a permit. It may only do so in specified circumstances which include if the premises are used wholly or mainly by children or young persons or if an offence under the Act has been committed. Before it cancels a permit the licensing authority must notify the holder, giving 21 days notice of intention to cancel, consider any representations made by the holder, hold a hearing if requested, and comply with any other prescribed requirements relating to the procedure to be followed. Where the licensing authority cancels the permit, the cancellation does not take effect until the period for appealing against that decision has elapsed or, where an appeal is made, until the appeal is determined.

26.20 The licensing authority can also cancel a permit if the holder fails to pay the annual fee, unless failure is the result of an administrative error. The court may order forfeiture of the permit if the holder is convicted of a relevant offence.

26.21 Where a person applies to a licensing authority for the transfer of an alcohol premises licence, they will also need to apply separately for the transfer of the licensed premises gaming machine permit. Both applications will require a fee to be paid.

26.22 The applicant may appeal to the Magistrates’ court or Sheriff against an authority’s decision not to issue a permit. The holder can also appeal against a decision to cancel a permit.

Back To TopExempt gaming

26.23 Exempt gaming is detailed at paragraphs 25.10 to 25.21 in Part 25 of this guidance.

26.24 A fee may not be levied for participation in the equal chance gaming offered by an alcohol-licensed premises under the exempt gaming rules. A compulsory charge, such as charging for a meal, may constitute a participation fee, depending on the particular circumstances.

26.25 Information about poker in alcohol licensed premises can be found in Part 29 of this guidance.

Removal of exemption

26.26 Licensing authorities can remove the automatic authorisation for exempt gaming in respect of any particular premises by making an order under s.284 of the Act, if:

  • provision of the gaming is not reasonably consistent with the pursuit of the licensing objectives
  • gaming has taken place on the premises that breaches a condition of s.279, for example the gaming does not abide by the prescribed limits for stakes and prizes, a participation fee is charged for the gaming or an amount is deducted or levied from sums staked or won
  • the premises are mainly used for gaming
  • an offence under the Act has been committed on the premises.

26.27 Before making an order, the licensing authority must give the licensee at least 21 days’ notice of the intention to make the order and consider any representations that they may make. The authority must hold a hearing if the licensee so requests and must comply with any other procedural requirements set out in regulations. If there is no appeal, the order will take effect 21 days after notice of the intention was given. The authority must give the licensee a copy of the order and written reasons for making it. The licensee may appeal to the Magistrates’ court or the Sheriff.

Back To TopBingo

26.28 Alcohol licensed premises are able to provide facilities for bingo under s.281 of the Act, provided that the restrictions in s.281 are complied with. These include that, in any seven day period, the aggregate stakes or prizes for bingo must not exceed £2,000. If that limit is exceeded, the relevant operating and personal licences must be sought. It should be noted, however, that the bingo will still be subject to the conditions for exempt gaming prescribed in s.279 of the Act. Further details are provided in Part 18 of this guidance.

26.29 The bingo must comply with any code issued by the Commission under s.24 of the Act.

Back To TopBetting

26.30 Commercial betting, regardless of the level of stakes, is not permitted in alcohol licensed premises. Those who facilitate such betting in pubs are providing illegal facilities for gambling and are breaking the law. Even where publicans accept bets on behalf of licensed bookmakers, or just facilitate betting through their own telephone betting accounts, they are acting as betting intermediaries and could be prosecuted.

26.31 Licensed bookmakers who knowingly accept bets from pub customers through a single account are encouraging illegal gambling and may be in breach of the Act and could risk losing their licence.

26.32 Licensed bookmakers with a remote or ancillary licence can accept telephone bets from a customer watching an event in a pub, as long as that customer has an individual account with them. It is illegal for bookmakers or their agents to sit in the pub taking bets themselves.

26.33 It should be noted, however, that the prohibition on commercial betting in alcohol licensed premises does not apply in relation to tracks in certain circumstances. Where the betting takes place under the authority of a track premises licence, it can take place in an area on the track licensed for the sale of alcohol, provided that the licensing authority has approved the betting area as part of the track premises licence application. However, this does not apply in relation to separate and discrete premises on the track where betting takes place under the authority of a general betting licence. In this case, the consumption of alcohol on those premises is prohibited.

Back To TopCommission codes of practice

26.34 The Commission has issued a code of practice under s.24 of the Act in respect of exempt equal chance gaming.

26.35 The code of practice requires owners/licensees to adopt good practice measures for the provision of gaming in general and poker in particular. The code also sets out the stakes and prizes limits laid out in regulations.

26.36 The emphasis of the regulations and the code of practice is on self-regulation by the management of the premises and licensing authorities should take a strong line in cases where breaches are detected.

26.37 Under s.310(2) of the Act, an authorised licensing authority officer may enter premises with an alcohol licence for the purpose of:

  • determining whether the gaming satisfies the conditions in s.279 of the Act
  • in the case of bingo played on the premises, determining:
    1. whether the terms and conditions of any relevant operating licence are being complied with
    2. whether s.281 of the Act applies.

 

  • ascertaining the number and category of gaming machines being made available for use on the premises.

26.38 Additionally, the Commission’s Code of practice on gaming machines in alcohol-licensed premises includes sections relating to:

  • the location and operation of machines, which are a requirement of machine permits
  • access to gambling by children and young persons,which sets out good practice guidance for permit holders
  • customer complaints and disputes, which again sets out good practice for permit holders.

Back To TopScotland

26.39 The provisions of the Act which relate to gaming and gaming machines in licensed premises also apply to Scotland. In Scotland they apply to premises which have a premises licence granted under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, provided that it is not a licence authorising the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises only.

26.40 The provisions affecting licensed premises gaming machine permits in Scotland have been set out separately. This is because Schedule 13 of the Act does not apply in Scotland. Instead, Scottish Ministers have power under s.285 of the Act to make regulations about the regime in Scotland. The same also applies to gaming and gaming machine permits for clubs in Scotland. Schedule 12 of the Act does not apply in that case and, instead, Scottish Ministers have the power to make provision in regulations about the regime for club gaming and club machine permits. The Scottish Executive has made separate regulations in this regard (SSI No 505/2007: The Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permits (Scotland) Regulations 2007 & SSI No 504/2007: The Club Gaming and Club Machine Permits (Scotland) Regulations 2007). It is also important to note that, in Scotland, Schedule 12 does not apply to clubs licensed to sell alcohol (by virtue of s.274(2) of the Act).

Back To TopProtection of children and young persons

26.41 The Commission’s code of practice relating to the location and operation of gaming machines provides that, in respect of gaming machines in alcohol licensed premises, the licence holder or permit holder should put into effect procedures intended to prevent underage gambling. This should include procedures for:

  • checking the age of apparently underage customers
  • refusing access to anyone who appears to be underage and who tries to use category B or C gaming machines, and cannot produce an acceptable form of identification.

26.42 The code requires that all gaming machines situated on the premises must be located in a place within the premises where their use can be supervised, either by staff whose duties include such supervision (including bar or floor staff) or by other means. Alcohol premises licence holders or permit holders must have in place arrangements for such supervision.

26.43 In respect of exempt equal chance gaming, the code requires the gaming supervisor to put into effect procedures designed to prevent underage gambling. These should include:

  • holding the gaming in premises or parts of premises which are restricted to adults
  • checking the age of potentially underage players
  • refusing access to the gaming to anyone apparently underage who cannot produce an acceptable form of age verification and identification.

26.44 Procedures should be in place for dealing with cases where an underage person repeatedly attempts to gamble, including verbal warnings and reporting the offence to the Commission and the police. The gaming supervisor should also take reasonable steps to ensure that all employees understand their responsibilities under the code of practice.

Back To TopProhibited gaming

26.45 No bankers' games may be played in alcohol licensed premises, commercial clubs or in members’ clubs/miners’ welfare institutes unless they have a club gaming permit. With a permit the two bankers’ games of pontoon and chemin de fer may be played. Otherwise, games such as blackjack, roulette and any others which involve staking against the holder of the bank are unlawful on such premises.