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The Upper Tribunal has found that the Gambling Commission acted within its powers when it refused to grant Greene King a bingo operating licence to provide commercial bingo in its pubs.

At a hearing in London, Greene King’s lawyers argued that the Commission had exceeded its powers when it refused to grant a licence enabling Greene King to offer bingo as well as high stakes (1) B3 and B4 gaming machines in some of its pubs. They argued that the Commission’s refusal trespassed on the territory of licensing authorities carrying out their premises licensing function.

Judge Howard Levenson rejected those arguments.  Instead he found that the Commission has the legal power to refuse an application for an operating licence if it considers granting the application would not be reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives. He therefore ordered the case to be sent back to the First-tier Tribunal for reconsideration.

Helen Venn, Commission programme director, said: "We welcome the Upper Tribunal’s decision, which clarifies the Commission’s powers.

“In our view commercial betting, gaming and bingo and any associated high stakes and prize machines, should only be provided in separate premises licensed for that specific purpose – premises that adults make a deliberate choice to visit in order to gamble.” 

Notes to editors 

  1. Both B3 and B4 machines allow customers to gamble up to £2 a time, with B3s having a £500 jackpot and B4s having a top prize of £400. We have further information on gaming machine categories and where they can be played.
  2. More information about how we regulate the gambling industry.
  3. Useful statistics on the gambling industry

Journalists can contact our press office on 0121 230 6700 or email: communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk

Posted on 09 February 2016