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Licensing Authority Bulletin April 2019

News

Licensing authority annual returns portal open until 10 May

Many thanks to the 100 LAs that have already submitted their 2018 to 2019 annual return. The deadline for submission is 10 May 2019 and failure to submit within this timescale will result in the matter being escalated to the Head of Service, and ultimately Chief Executive. We will be sending out a two weeks to go reminder at the end of April.

Please remember that the passcode will only work with a registered user email address. The passcode is specific to your LA not to an individual so multiple email addresses can be registered per LA, but we would encourage you to register your licensing@ email address, if you have not already done so.

Please contact lareturns@gamblingcommisison.gov.uk if you have not received any correspondence about the annual returns.

Impact of reduced B2 stakes

Bookmakers Paddy Power Betfair and BetFred are being investigated following the introduction of new products which undermined the reduction in B2 stakes. A third bookmaker who was poised to launch a new product, was also warned. LAs are encouraged to share intel/discuss any concerns with their local compliance managers. We will provide further updates as the Commission’s work progresses.

Betwatch in Birmingham

The Commission’s CEO Neil McArthur recently spoke about the success of the Betwatch scheme in Birmingham (opens in new tab), a partnership between operators, West Midlands police and Birmingham city council and the Commission. The scheme is to keep people safe and build relationships between staff in bookies and neighbourhood policing teams to detect and antisocial and problematic customers. More than a dozen customers have been banned from Birmingham bookmakers in just a year after being accused of crimes including drug-dealing and attacking staff. There are now over 40 Betwatch schemes in operation around the country and an information note is available for those interested in setting a new scheme.

New Business Plan published

We recently published our 2019 to 2020 Business Plan which outlines the key areas of focus for our work for the next 12 months in terms of protecting consumers, preventing harm, raising standards, optimising returns to good causes from lotteries, and improving the way we regulate.

LA Bulletin April 2019 - Consultations

Have your say on making gambling fairer and safer

We are consulting on changes to Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) requirements for customer interaction and alternative dispute resolution along with a call for evidence on gambling website blocking software. The closing date for views on the consultation (opens in new tab) is on 9 May 2019.

Call for evidence on Category B gaming machines and gambling online with credit cards

We are asking gambling businesses to outline how they will meet the challenges set out in the Government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures (opens in new tab) over the protections for players using Category B gaming machines. It also seeks to gain further insight into the harm prevention measures already afforded to players of Category B2 gaming machines and whether player protection measures should be extended to B1 and B3 machines. Views (opens in new tab) are sought by 16 May.

In 2018 the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board provided advice to us on online gamblingResponsible Gambling Strategy Board provided advice to us on online gambling which included recommendations on gambling using credit. The advice noted that gambling with borrowed money, including with a credit card, is a well-established risk factor for harmful gambling. We are therefore requesting views (opens in new tab) on the issue of gambling online with credit cards. We are engaging with gambling operators and financial institutions, debt relief charities and consumers. This call for views closes on 16 May.

LA Bulletin April 2019 - Feature article: New National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

The National Strategy to Reduce Gambling harms was launched on 25 April in London. Launch events will be held in Wales and Scotland in May.

In his opening remarks the Commission’s Chair notes that

'Successful delivery of the strategy will…require collective effort and engagement from a wide range of stakeholders across Scotland, England and Wales in the health and social care, financial, education and charitable sectors. In shaping this strategy, we have reached out to a broad range of people and organisations who have an interest and a voice in reducing gambling harms’.

This multi-agency approach is outlined: “Reducing gambling harms means taking a broader focus than simply encouraging individuals to gamble responsibly, and this strategy sets out collectively how we can adopt a public health approach to reducing gambling harms. A public health approach to reducing gambling harms in this context is not solely – or even primarily – about health care provision. It is about adopting practices that bring benefit at the population level, as well as at the individual, in order to prevent gambling harms from occurring. It means recognising that a broad range of measures must usually be taken by different people and organisations to address what can often be a complex mix of harmful consequences.”

This strategy sets out how, by focusing combined efforts on two strategic priorities of prevention and education and treatment and support, we can collectively have the most impact on reducing gambling harms:

  • Prevention and education: To make significant progress towards a collective and clear prevention plan applying the right mix of interventions.
  • Treatment and support: To make significant progress towards truly national treatment and support options that meet the needs of current and future service users.

These inter-related strategic priorities are delivered through four enablers; regulation and oversight, collaboration, evaluation and research to inform action.

Of particular interest to local authorities is the following: ‘To support the implementation of national public health plans, and to provide an evidence-based toolkit for use by local authorities, their public health teams and other organisations. The Gambling Commission and licensing authorities work in partnership through shared regulation of gambling premises and will use the findings and evidence generated through the developing public health model to build on existing toolkits for gambling, using an evidence-based approach. We will also support the evaluation of the impact of public health plans.’

Considerable progress has already been made in developing this work and details can be found in the Commission’s Public Health toolkit.

We also recently announced that our independent advisors, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB), has been renamed as the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG) and a new chair Dr Anna van der Gaag CBE has taken over the position from Sir Christopher Kelly who has come to the end of his tenure after six years in the role.

The ABSG will provide independent advice to the Commission as it works to implement the new strategy over the next three years and ensure progress is made on reducing gambling harms.

The RGSB published a final progress report in March which provides an assessment on the success and implementation of the 2016-19 National Responsible Gambling Strategy. It identifies that progress has been made in key areas – including Public Health England announcing a review of gambling-related harms, and the NHS 10-year plan identifying the need for action.

Brighton event

We are hosting an event on the morning of 19th June in Brighton to explain the new strategy and the public health approach to harmful gambling. Delegates will be hearing from other local authorities as to how they are approaching this as well as the regional treatment provider and the new offer from the local Citizens Advice centre. It is designed to be action orientated – enabling delegates to discuss and develop their own implementation plans as the morning develops. The event will be of interest to public health teams, licensing, social housing, debt advice, mental health, police/probation, student union/university as well as those offering work coaching.

For a full agenda and to reserve a place please email RBurkitt@gamblingcommission.gov.uk

LA Bulletin April 2019 - Advice and guidance updates

Update your references to B2 stakes

We have updated Appendix B of the Guidance to Licensing Authorities to reflect the reduction in stake from £100 to £2 and similarly the references in the gaming machine e-learning modules (opens in new tab) have been amended. LAs are encouraged to ensure that they have also reflected this change on their own websites and information for applicants.

Customer lottery reminder

We have recently received queries from LAs about customer lotteries in pubs such as involving a “bonus ball” draw and “chase the ace” type games.

Under the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab) (the Act) schedule 11 there are specific requirements about how lotteries including ‘customer lotteries’ can operate. Typically ‘bonus ball lotteries’ are ones which use the bonus ball drawn in the National Lottery main draw as a way of determining their lottery but this term can apply to any status of lottery and the promoter will need to comply with the legal requirements for whichever type of lottery is being promoted.
Chase the Ace type games typically operate by customers purchasing a raffle ticket at a set price. A draw takes each week with the winning customer invited to choose one of the envelopes pinned to the wall behind the bar. Each of these envelopes contains a playing card with any card other than the joker resulting in the customer winning a prize. Should the card picked be the joker, the customer wins the jackpot. Alternate versions see an Ace winning a jackpot prize.

We have seen both types of games being offered as rollover lotteries in order to boost the jackpot – this is unlawful.

Under the Act, schedule 11, part 3 the requirements for customer lotteries include:

  • A customer lottery or raffle cannot make a profit so is not suitable for fundraising. All of the money collected through ticket sales must be used to pay for the prizes and any expenses incurred organising the lottery.
  • the lottery can only be advertised in the premises where tickets are sold
  • tickets can only be sold on the business premises to customers present in those premises
  • tickets must not be sold to children under 16 years of age
  • no prize can be more than £50 in value (whether in cash, non monetary prize or a mixture of both).
  • no rollover of prizes from one lottery to another is permitted
  • A draw cannot take place with seven days of the previous draw
  • tickets must show the name and address of the organiser, the ticket price, any restrictions as to who may or may not buy a ticket, and state that the rights created by the ticket are non-transferable. They cannot be a cloakroom ticket and must be in a form as to prove the purchaser is entered into that specific lottery.

Note that if the business is subject to a gambling premises licence customer lotteries are prohibited. The position is different in Scotland where customer lotteries can be promoted on licensed gambling premises, without an operating licence from the Commission.

Template for machines in pubs

There are no statutory forms for applicants to use to notify LAs of the take up of the automatic entitlement to 2 machines in pubs or to apply for licensed premises gaming machine permits. We recently became aware that many LAs still use a template produced over 10 years ago by LACORS, which has references to stakes and prizes that have since changed.

LAs may wish to review their own forms or make use of the templates that we have updated.

LA Bulletin 2019 - Reference materials

LLEP assessment templates

To help you meet LA regulatory obligations under the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab) we worked with Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Licensing Forum and LLEP to produce a range of resources (opens in new tab) including a suite of assessment templates, information for premises and assessment outcome letters. Please share the findings of your visits with your compliance manager so that we can continue to build a broad picture of premises’ compliance.

Before undertaking inspections, officers should check if there are any age verification Primary Authority agreements in place in order to get the most of out the visit. Details of the gambling age verification Primary Authority agreements signed to date are on our website.

The assessment templates (opens in new tab) have also been updated to reflect the abovementioned LCCP changes, and the statement on entry advice has been updated on the website (opens in new tab) to make it clearer for LAs to follow. There is now an explanation of how the information sheets can help them comply with The Gambling Act 2005 (Inspection) (Provision of Information) Regulations 2007 (opens in new tab). It also emphasises the fact that if LAs use the premises information templates (opens in new tab), they will have to amend it to show their own contact details before issuing to operators.

E-Learning modules

The Institute of Licensing (opens in new tab) and the Commission have worked together to produce some gambling e-learning modules:

  • Gaming machines - three separate modules which cover the various types of gaming machines, the physical components and signage requirements and how to deal with non-compliant machines
  • Inspection powers and inspection preparation – designed to help co-regulators familiarise themselves with their powers to enter and inspect gambling premises and the preparation to undertake before conducting an inspection of any gambling premises.
  • Introduction to inspecting a betting premises – aimed at helping co-regulators improve their understanding of what to check when conducting an inspection of a betting premises - both inside and outside the premises.

These modules can be accessed by anybody via the IOL website,and all are CPD accredited. Once on the website simply click on the ‘e-learning’ tab on the top right, then log in if you have an existing account, or request a log in via membership@instituteoflicensing.org to get started.

We also have several refresher modules for licensing officers which compliance managers can deliver at licensing meetings. Topics include machines, permits, money laundering, poker. If you are interested in receiving such training, please contact your compliance manager.

LA Bulletin - Quick guides and template letters

Some quick guides are designed to give to operators when undertaking visits, others provide an accessible ‘how to’ for licensing staff:

LA Bulletin - Gambling Act statutory notices and forms

It is a statutory requirement that applicants use the correct forms to give proper notice of applications, variations etc to all responsible authorities, including the Gambling Commission.

We host all the statutory notices and application forms as they are no longer available on the DCMS (opens in new tab) website.

LA Bulletin - Find operating licence holders and premises licence register

We publish the names of all companies and individuals who hold, or have applied for, operating licences in Great Britain along with the names of companies or individuals whose licences have lapsed, been revoked, forfeited, expired, suspended or surrendered in the last 6 months.

LAs must check the operator licence quoted on premises applications with the register before granting a premises licence. An application for premises licence may only be made by persons who have an operating licence which allows them to carry out the proposed activity for example a bingo operating licence for a bingo premises or have applied for an operating licence (although the premises licence cannot be determined until an operating licence has been issued).

Premises licence register

The information on our publicly available premises register is based on the statutory notifications received from LAs regarding grants, variations, revocations, lapses etc, and is updated monthly. LAs are encouraged to send all necessary correspondence to info@gamblingcommission.gov.uk. Where email notification has been made it is not necessary to follow up by post.

In relation to gaming machines, we only require notification of grant and or rejection of Club Machines Permits and Gaming Machine Permits. There is no requirement to advise us when an alcohol licence holder submits their notification for an automatic entitlement to two gaming machines. However, LAs must keep a record of how many automatic entitlement notifications it receives each year, as that information is requested in the annual LA returns.

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