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Back To TopIntroduction

Licensing authorities (as defined in s.2 of the Act) are responsible for local gambling regulation and the Act gives them responsibility for a number of regulatory functions in relation to gambling activities. These include:

  • issuing a statement of licensing policy (policy statement) setting expectations about how gambling will be regulated in the area
  • responsibility for licensing gambling premises
  • the issue of permits to family entertainment centres (FEC) for the use of certain lower stake gaming machines
  • granting permits for prize gaming
  • registering society lotteries that fall below certain thresholds
  • regulating members’ clubs and miners’ welfare institutes which undertake certain gaming activities
  • setting and collecting fees.

4.2 The Act also provides a system of temporary and occasional use notices. These authorise premises that are not licensed generally for gambling purposes to be used for certain types of gambling, for limited periods. Parts 14 and 15 of this guidance provide more information on temporary and occasional use notices.

4.3 In exercising their statutory functions, licensing authorities have a broad discretion in regulating the local provision of gambling through the wide ranging powers at their disposal, including:

  • issuing a statement of licensing policy, setting expectations about how gambling will be regulated in a particular area
  • granting, refusing and attaching conditions to premises licences
  • reviewing premises licences and attaching conditions or revoking them as a result.

Back To TopStatutory framework

4.4 In addition to the Act, there is other legislation which licensing authorities should be aware of.

Licensing Act 2003

4.5 Licensing authorities in England and Wales have responsibilities under the Licensing Act 2003. There are some inter-dependencies between the Licensing Act 2003 and the Act, in terms of the framework for decision making and the procedures that must be followed. However, licensing authorities must take care to ensure that they follow the procedures and only take into account issues that are relevant to the Act, when dealing with applications under the Act. Particular care should be taken to distinguish considerations made under the Act from those relevant to alcohol licensing, public entertainment or late night refreshments.

Licensing (Scotland) Act 20052

4.6 The position in Scotland is similar, with procedures and decision making requirements under both the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Act. The same care must be taken by licensing authorities in Scotland to consider only those issues which are relevant to matters under the Act in their decision making, and to ensure that they follow the prescribed procedures under the Act.

Other provisions and legislation

4.7 Conditions on premises licences should relate only to gambling, as considered appropriate in light of the principles to be applied by licensing authorities under s.153 of the Act. Accordingly, if the Commission’s Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) or other legislation places particular responsibilities or restrictions on an employer or the operator of premises, it is not necessary or appropriate to impose similar conditions on a premises licence issued in accordance with the Act.

4.8 Similarly, where other legislation confers powers on inspection and enforcement agencies in relation to separate activities or concerns, the Act does not affect the continued use of such powers, for example, the powers of an environmental health officer in respect of statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Back To TopLicensing authority decisions

4.9 S.153 provides that licensing authorities shall aim to permit the use of premises for gambling in so far as they think it is:

  • a. in accordance with any relevant code of practice under s.24
  • b. in accordance with any relevant guidance issued by the Commission under s.25
  • c. reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives (subject to a and b above),
  • d. in accordance with the licensing authority’s statement of licensing policy (policy statement) (subject to a to c above).

4.10 Therefore, a licensing authority has no discretion in exercising its functions under Part 8 of the Act, to grant a premises licence where that would mean taking a course which it did not think accorded with the guidance contained in this document, any relevant Commission code of practice, the licensing objectives or the licensing authority’s own policy statement.

Delegations

4.11 The decision making powers of licensing authorities may be delegated, as set out in s.154 of the Act for England and Wales and s.155 for Scotland. Decisions that are delegated to a licensing committee, may be further delegated to a sub-committee, which may then arrange for the decision to be taken by an officer of the authority.

4.12 It is open to licensing committees to choose not to delegate decisions. An important consideration in determining whether any particular decision should be delegated will be whether delegation might give rise to a risk of judicial review challenge, particularly on the basis of appearance of bias.

4.13 The tables at Appendix H set out a summary of licensing authority delegations permitted under the Act for England and Wales, and for Scotland.