Licensing, compliance & enforcement



What is compliance?

An important part of the Gambling Commission’s work is to ensure that licence holders are compliant. Compliance requires licence holders to understand and act in accordance with:

What is our approach to ensuring compliance?

Our compliance process concentrates on the effectiveness of licence holders' self-regulation. The type of compliance activity we undertake includes:

  • carrying out reviews and visits
  • giving specific advice or guidance to licence holders
  • taking remedial or preventive action
  • varying or imposing additional licence conditions
  • reviewing financial information.

Our approach to compliance is set out in our Licensing, compliance and enforcement policy statement and Statement of principles for licensing and regulation.

Licensing compliance and enforcement policy statement - September 2009
Statement of principles for licensing and regulation - September 2009
Approach to test purchasing - England and Wales only - May 2011

What does a compliance visit involve?

Compliance activity is now based upon risk and the risk that each licensed activity poses to the Gambling Commission’s licensing objectives.

The three licensing objectives are:

  • keeping crime out of gambling 
  • ensuring gambling is conducted fairly and openly 
  • protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

Assessments involve a template consisting of standard questions. These questions form the basis of our assessment process and are divided into three distinct but linked categories: Suitability, Provision and Facility (SPF):

  • Suitability –  to hold, or to continue to hold, a licence. 
  • Provision –  of gambling activities and the execution of resultant activities. 
  • Facility – the gambling product(s) being offered and associated requirements and implications.

Once the necessary assessment questions are answered the scores are blended to give an average rating for SPF. These are then labelled as being, Good, Adequate, Just Adequate or Inadequate.

The current risk model is designed to provide us with a likelihood score and an impact score based upon the licensed activity that an operator provides.

The likelihood score is the probability that, based on an SPF assessment, an issue exists that may impact on the licence objectives.

The impact score is based upon the licence fee category (customer base, turnover, activities etc).

The risk rating is calculated by combining the likelihood score with the impact score for that licensed activity.

The data from these assessments directly informs our risk model.

Whilst our system requires time in order to build up sufficient data to develop an enhanced view of risk, it currently allows us to ensure that our focus is on those operators and activities that pose the highest risk to the licensing objectives.

Licence holders who are not compliant

Licence holders who are not compliant risk regulatory action being taken by us.

Equally, licence holders and individuals who are unco-operative, or less than open with us, can expect higher levels of regulatory intervention. Where necessary we will exercise our regulatory powers.

The Terms & Conditions section of this website contains further information on legal advice.

Page last reviewed: April 2013

How do you rate this page?