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4 - ‘Fair and open’ provisions

This is a consolidated version of the codes of practice for licensing authorities.

You can view the full Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice online.

4.1.1 - Fair terms

Applies to:

All licences, except gaming machine technical and gambling software licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Licensees must be able to provide evidence to the Commission, if required, showing how they satisfied themselves that their terms are not unfair.

4.2.1 - Display of rules – casino

Applies to:

All non-remote casino licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. In complying with any condition on a casino premises licence requiring the display of rules about gaming, licensees must ensure that the following are included:
    1. the rules of each type of casino game available to be played
    2. a player’s guide to the house edge
    3. a player’s guide to the rules of any equal chance games which are made available.

4.2.2 - Display of rules - bingo

Applies to:

All non-remote bingo licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. In complying with any condition on a bingo premises licence or a 2005 Act large casino premises licence requiring the display of rules about gaming, licensees must ensure that the following are included:
    1. rules about each variant of bingo made available; and
    2. rules about any prize gaming made available.

4.2.3 - Display of rules – remote SR code

Applies to:

All remote licences (including ancillary remote betting licences), except gaming machine technical, gambling software, ancillary remote bingo, ancillary remote casino and remote betting intermediary (trading rooms only) licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Licensees must make the following available to customers:
    1. a player’s guide to each gambling opportunity (bet, game or lottery) made available by the operator; and
    2. such additional information relating to the available gambling as the Commission shall from time to time publish to licensees: the current requirements are set out in the Commission’s Remote gambling and software technical standards.

4.2.4 - Remote ordinary code

Applies to:

All remote licences (including ancillary remote betting licences), except gaming machine technical, gambling software, ancillary remote bingo, ancillary remote casino and remote betting intermediary (trading rooms only) licences

Ordinary code

These do not have the status of operator licence conditions but set out good practice. Operators may adopt alternative approaches to those set out in ordinary code provisions if they have actively taken account of the ordinary code provision and can demonstrate that an alternative approach is reasonable in the operator's particular circumstances; or that to take an alternative approach would be acting in a similarly effective manner. Ordinary codes of practice are admissible in evidence in criminal or civil proceedings and must be taken into account in any case in which the court or tribunal think them relevant, and by the Commission in the exercise of its functions; any departure from ordinary code provisions by an operator may be taken into account by the Commission on a licence review, but cannot lead to imposition of a financial penalty.

  1. Where practicable, the player’s guide and additional information referred to in the social responsibility code 4.2.3 should be made available through the medium in which the remote gambling is to be conducted. Where that is not practicable, licensees should either:
    1. send a copy of the guide and required additional information by post, fax or email; or
    2. make these available to the customer in another medium to which he has access.

4.2.5 - Supervision of games

Applies to:

All non-remote casino licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Licensees must have and put into effect policies and procedures designed to ensure that proper supervision of gaming at tables is carried out by supervisors, pit bosses and croupiers in order to ensure the integrity of the gaming is not compromised. Such policies and procedures must take into account, but need not be limited by, any mandatory premises licence conditions relating to the layout of premises.

4.2.6 - Display of rules – betting

Applies to:

All general betting and betting intermediary licences, except remote betting intermediary (trading rooms only) licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Licensees must set out within the full rules that they make available, the core elements for the acceptance and settlement of bets. These rules must cover:

    1. the circumstances under which the operator will void a bet;
    2. treatment of errors, late bets and related contingencies;
    3. availability of odds for any ante-post, early show or starting price betting, and treatment of place, forecast bets etc;
    4. treatment of withdrawals, non-runners, and reformed markets;
    5. maximum payout limiting liability for a specific betting product or generally;
    6. any charges made to customers for the use of betting services or products, and how these are calculated (including deductions from winnings for commission, or in respect of withdrawn horses etc);
    7. means or medium by which the outcome of an event will be determined;
    8. the rules for the event itself to be specified (for example, horserace bets only to be accepted; where the racing is subject to British Horseracing Authority rules);
    9. where bets are accepted on ‘pari-mutuel’ terms; and
    10. any special arrangements for settling bets on ‘coupled’ horses.
  2. Where special rules have been agreed in relation to a particular bet these must not be overridden by any conflicting rules or subsequent rule changes.

  3. Licensees must issue a betting slip or an electronic acknowledgement (other than in the case of telephone betting) for each transaction which includes information as to the operator’s name and contact details, and words equivalent to ‘Bets are accepted in accordance with the operator’s rules’.

4.2.7 - On-course betting

Applies to:

All non-remote general betting licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. When providing facilities for betting on-course, licensees must display on their ‘joints’ in an intelligible format:

    1. any rules that differ from the relevant racecourse rules on betting, such as Tattersalls’ ‘Rules on Betting’1;
    2. any types of unorthodox bets accepted (such as forecast betting, betting without the favourite, distance betting etc);
    3. whether win-only or each way bets are accepted;
    4. any concessions or bonuses offered;
    5. all of the runners and the odds available to the public;
    6. the operator’s trading name;
    7. the minimum bet accepted; and
    8. any applicable maximum payout.
  2. Licensees operating within the ring at horserace tracks2 must issue customers with a betting slip or ticket for each transaction accepted. Betting slips or tickets must include the following information:

    1. operator’s name and contact details;
    2. race day name or code, date and race number;
    3. name and/or number of the selection;
    4. the stake, odds and potential return or whether the bet will be settled according to Starting Price; and
    5. the type of bet.
  3. Any special rules which have been agreed in relation to a particular bet must not be overridden by any conflicting rules or subsequent rule changes.

References

1The references to Tattersalls’ ‘Rules on Betting’ reflect the current position and may need to be amended in future

2Licensees operating under the provision of an occasional use notice (for example, point-to-points) must ensure ledger systems are capable of providing the information listed here.

4.2.8 - Betting integrity

Applies to:

All betting operating licences, including betting intermediary, ancillary remote betting and remote betting intermediary (trading rooms only) licences

Ordinary code

These do not have the status of operator licence conditions but set out good practice. Operators may adopt alternative approaches to those set out in ordinary code provisions if they have actively taken account of the ordinary code provision and can demonstrate that an alternative approach is reasonable in the operator's particular circumstances; or that to take an alternative approach would be acting in a similarly effective manner. Ordinary codes of practice are admissible in evidence in criminal or civil proceedings and must be taken into account in any case in which the court or tribunal think them relevant, and by the Commission in the exercise of its functions; any departure from ordinary code provisions by an operator may be taken into account by the Commission on a licence review, but cannot lead to imposition of a financial penalty.

  1. Where licensees offer to accept bets, or facilitate the making or acceptance of bets between others, on the outcome of a sport regulated by a sport governing body for the time being included in Part 3 of Schedule 6 of the Act, they should take all reasonable steps to familiarise themselves with the rules applied by that body on betting, in particular betting by registered participants.

  2. Licensees should ensure that a condition of their accepting bets is that for a bet to be valid, customers placing such bets must not be in breach of any rules on betting or misuse of inside information relevant to a sports governing body, other professional body of which they are a member, or their employers. Where a breach of these rules is identified, licensees should then take steps to void the bet.

4.2.9 - Display of rules – pool betting

Applies to:

All pool betting licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Licensees or any person they authorise to offer pool betting on their behalf under authority of section 93 of the Act must publish their rules relevant to the following:
    1. the deduction levels for overheads, taxes, profits etc, expressed as a percentage, from each available pool;
    2. the rounding of winning dividends to a whole unit;
    3. the procedure for when there is no winner of the pool, and the circumstances in which the pool is carried over; and
    4. the period of time in which a winning bet may be claimed from the pool operator.

4.2.10 - Pool betting

Applies to:

All non-remote pool betting licences

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Licensees or any person they authorise to offer pool betting on their behalf under authority of section 93 of the Act, must only accept bets through equipment capable of communicating bets to a central recording system.

  2. The equipment must supply the person placing the bet with a betting slip or ticket containing the following information:

    1. the date on which the bet is made;
    2. the amount of the stake;
    3. the identity of the track, the number or time of the race and the pool in respect of which the bet is made;
    4. the selection or selections or combination of selections as indicated; and
    5. means of identifying the equipment recording the bet.
  3. The central recording system must collect all bets made to each of the operator’s pools and all information required to calculate the winnings of each pool and be capable of storing this information for subsequent retrieval if required by the Commission.

  4. Licensees and any person they authorise to offer pool betting on their behalf under authority of section 93 of the Act must:

    1. provide a public display system within sight of all of the operator’s terminals capable of accepting pool bets situated on-course. The system must display the potential dividend returns in respect of win and place outcomes from each pool operated, and in at least one place the units staked on all types of combination bets offered. This information is to be updated whilst the pool market is open. Following conclusion of the event to which the pool relates, the total amount payable as winning dividends must be displayed as soon as practicable; and
    2. display prominently the minimum stake that will be accepted as a bet.

4.3.1 - Publication of percentage of lottery proceeds returned to the purposes of the society or local authority

Applies to:

All lottery operating licences issued to non-commercial societies and local authorities

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Each year, licensees must publish details on the percentage of the total proceeds of lotteries promoted in the previous calendar year in reliance on this licence applied to purposes for which the society is conducted, or purposes for which the local authority has power to incur expenditure. This should be through either their annual report, lottery page of their society website or any other means appropriate to the size and scale of the organisation.

4.3.2 - Marketing of all lotteries conducted under a single brand (branded lotteries)

Applies to:

All lottery operating licences issued to non-commercial societies, local authorities and external lottery managers

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Where a number of society lotteries are promoted under one brand (also known as a branded lottery1 ), whether with an ELM or not, licensees must ensure that it is clear to consumers (or potential consumers), which society lotteries are being promoted.

  2. The requirement in (1) must be made clear to consumers within any marketing communications, advertisements, promotions or any information surrounding the draw, winners and beneficiaries; and through any ticket documentation.

References

1a scheme whereby multiple societies promote lotteries under a common brand name or image, either on rotation with other societies or as a regular occurrence for that single society.

4.3.3 - Lotteries – Information to consumers

Applies to:

All lottery operating licences issued to non-commercial societies, local authorities and external lottery managers

Social responsibility code

Compliance with these is a condition of licences; therefore any breach of them by an operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.

  1. Licensees must ensure that clear, transparent, and easily accessible information is made available to consumers to enable them to make an informed choice prior to participating in a lottery. This must include but is not restricted to details of how proceeds are used, the likelihood of winning a prize and how prizes are allocated.

  2. Licensees must take into account the Commission’s guidance on information to lottery players.

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