Licensing Authority Bulletin February 2020
Local government scrutiny and gambling harms
The Centre for Public Scrutiny (opens in new tab) (CfPS) has launched a new research project to review and consider new ways to improve local government’s scrutiny of activity to tackle gambling harms.
Local authorities through their licensing roles, are an essential part of the system of gambling regulation alongside national regulation and public health activity. Local government scrutiny has a vital role to play in supporting and providing oversight of local activity to tackle gambling harms across a range of partners.
As identified in the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, local action is successful when it is collaborative and evidence-led. This project, funded by an approved regulatory settlement, will bring together examples and evidence from around the country, drawing on existing scrutiny activity and learning through practical work in three councils,
Are you a councillor or an officer for a local authority which tackles gambling harm?
Tell CfPS how your scrutiny committee supports this work
CfPS is calling for local authorities to provide details of scrutiny work related to local strategies and activities to tackle gambling harms. Expressions of interest are also sought from councils wishing to take part in local inquiry days providing an opportunity to access CfPS expert support and facilitation to explore in more detail local activity and identify areas where scrutiny could add value. The insight and learning will be shared via national learning events and a new publication. The guidance will be published in Summer 2020.
To share your council’s experience of using its scrutiny committee to tackle problems created by gambling, please email email@example.com
Gambling participation annual report published
We have published data on consumer gambling behaviour in Great Britain in 2019, based on quarterly telephone and online tracking surveys. The report includes data on participation in gambling activities in the past four weeks, online gambling behaviour, awareness of gambling management tools and perceptions and attitudes towards gambling as well as data on the prevalence of problem, moderate-risk and low-risk gambling.
Headline findings for the year to December 2019 include:
- 47% of people have gambled in the past four weeks (32% if you exclude those that just played the National Lottery);
- 21% of people have gambled on-line in the past four weeks;
- 0.5% of people aged 16+ in England are classified as problem gamblers according to the PGSI or DSM-IV (2018);
- 29% of respondents agreed that gambling is conducted fairly and can be trusted;
- 43% of respondents think that gambling is associated with crime.
Guidance to help consumers limit gambling-related content on Twitter
We have partnered with Twitter (opens in new tab) to create guidance aimed at supporting users who want to limit the amount of gambling-related messaging and adverts they see, by adjusting settings and features with individual accounts.
ICE world regulatory briefing
Neil McArthur Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission recently addressed attendees at the ICE event in London, focusing on three issues.
- why we need to make gambling safer;
- what I see as the opportunities to make gambling safer and the risks if those opportunities are not taken;
- and how I think a change of mindset can help us – regulators, operators, advisers and suppliers – make gambling safer.
IOL week of action
We are pleased to be supporting the Institute of Licensing’s national licensing week (opens in new tab) again this year (15– 19 June). If your LA and or local police are interested in undertaking some joint visits that week to gambling premises or alcohol licensed premises, undertaking test purchasing or receiving some gambling training then please contact your compliance manager point of contact.
LA Bulletin February 2020 - Consultations
Society lottery reforms
Following the Government’s consultation on, and subsequent response to, potential changes to sales and prize limits for large and small society lotteries, the Commission is now consulting on measures to:
- Amend the limits within the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice to reflect changes that the Government plans to implement through secondary legislation.
- Enable lottery consumers to make better informed decisions about whether to gamble.
The consultation closes on 12 March 2020.
LA Bulletin February 2020 - Feature article Credit card ban – how it applies to lottery operators licensed by the Commission
In January’s LA bulletin we advised that from April 2020 we will ban gambling with credit cards for all forms of remote gambling and for non-remote betting. We have produced some guidance in response to queries from the lotteries sector on how this impacts them.
This advice will be applicable to large society lotteries, ELMs (external lottery managers) and local authorities that hold a lottery licence with the Commission (this does not apply to the National Lottery or small society lotteries). Please share with relevant council colleagues responsible for running the LA lottery.
From 14 April 2020, the ban on accepting payment by credit card for lottery participation will apply to:
- remote society lottery licences
- remote ancillary lottery licences, and
- remote ELM licences
In practice, this means that lottery operators with one of these licences will no longer be able to accept payment by credit card by remote methods. These include, for example:
- online payments (e.g. by website or an app)
- payment over the telephone
- payment by email
- payment by text message
- payment sent by fax
It will apply to credit card payments from both new and existing customers paying by remote means for either subscriptions or individual entries.
For subscriptions, this applies if:
- taking recurring subscription payments by credit card (e.g. weekly, monthly or annual credit card payments),
- those payments are taken automatically without the customer having to input their credit card details each time, and,
- the customer’s original payment was made by remote means.
Where this is the case, the lottery operator needs to ensure that subscription credit card payments are no longer taken from 14 April onward. Those customers will need to pay by alternative means if they wish to continue to take part in its lotteries.
Credit card payments can be accepted by remote means until 14 April. This includes where payment is made to take part in a lottery draw that takes place after this date. No further credit card payments can be accepted from the 14 April.
Non-remote society lottery (including non-remote local authority lotteries licensed with the Commission) and non-remote ELM licences will however not be subject to the ban.
What this means is that holders of non-remote lottery licences can continue to accept payment by credit card by non-remote methods, including for example:
where payment is taken face-to-face (e.g. on retail premises or door-to-door) where payment is sent by post (e.g. card details are sent to the operator in the post).
How operators might be able to comply with the ban
We understand that one means of preventing credit card payments is for operators - or their payment processors or acquiring bank - to identify credit cards via the card’s Issuer Identification Number (the IIN, which is the first 6 to 9 digits of the number across the front of a card and which allows the merchant or acquirer to identity whether a card is credit, debit or prepaid, and to identify the issuing bank). The payment processor or acquirer, on the operator’s (merchant’s) request, could then ensure that any card identified as a credit card is prevented from moving through the payment gateway.
Some operators may be able to put this system into effect at their end of the payment gateway without the need to ask their processor/acquirer. However, where this is not the case, we would suggest that operators contact their payment processor or their acquiring bank to understand how they could prevent credit card payments.
The ban will also apply to credit card payments made through e-wallets such as PayPal (opens in new tab), for example. We understand that the major wallet providers will be able to put measures into effect to prevent credit card payments for gambling.
However, operators will be responsible for only accepting payments through an e-wallet where the operator is satisfied that the e-wallet provider will prevent gambling payments by credit card from 14 April.
We suggest that societies, local authority lotteries and ELMs also contact any e-wallet providers whose wallets they make available to their customers as a payment option, to ensure they understand how the wallet provider intends to proceed.
Further details on the credit card ban are available in our consultation responses document.
How does the credit card ban affect small society lotteries?
As explained above, the credit card ban applies to all remote lottery operators licensed by the Commission. It does not apply to small society lottery operators that take remote credit card payments. However, local authorities may wish to consider their own Statements of Policy in this area.
What was the Commission’s rationale for banning gambling with credit cards for all forms of remote gambling and non-remote betting?
We acknowledged the consultation responses from the lotteries sector which generally argued that subscription and lower frequency lotteries do not have the same potential rates of loss as other forms of gambling, and that society lotteries are associated with lower incidences of harm.
However, our key concern is that gambling with a credit card can facilitate high levels of gambling debt, and for people at risk of harm this could be a cumulative gambling debt across a number of operators and types of gambling. We note from our research that those who use credit cards for online gambling tend to be highly engaged gamblers who gamble on several different activities - and that while online betting and gaming are the most prevalent forms of gambling activity for them, they are more likely to participate in a full range of gambling opportunities including gaming machines and online lottery participation. Therefore, individuals who are at the greatest risk of harm from credit card gambling may be using their cards across multiple gambling platforms – and accruing more debt than they can afford to repay – across a range of operators and products including lotteries.
In order to minimise the risks of harm to those credit cards gamblers and their families, we therefore decided to include remote lotteries as part of the ban on credit cards alongside other forms of gambling.
Although small society lotteries can continue to take credit card payments (both remotely and non-remotely) after 14 April, local authorities may want to consider their expectations of new and existing small society lottery operators around remote credit card use in their Statements of Policy.
LA Bulletin February 2020 - Feature article Crime and Harmful Gambling
We are all familiar with the fact that one of the licensing objectives is ‘preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime’. So, what exactly might that crime look like.
Perhaps the most common occurrence on the high street has been the issues surrounding betting premises, for example violence within a shop either to staff or machines, or the people stood outside the premises causing problems for other shoppers. At the other end of the scale you may have noticed a number of high profile cases brought by the Commission in relation to breaches of the anti-money laundering regulations.
However, there is a lot in between these two ends of the scale, most of which doesn’t make headline news, but certainly demonstrates the wider personal, social and economic costs of harmful gambling.
Perhaps this is best described in general terms by the “pathway to crime” which treatment providers will often refer to.
It runs as follows:
- The person doesn’t have enough access to finance their gambling. They start by borrowing from close friends and family, intending to pay it back. Very often they will not disclose it is for gambling. The money is not paid back, and the sums involved escalate. Eventually that source of money is either insufficient or stops.
- The next step is to use money that should be spent on essentials, such as rent or mortgage payments, food and utility bills, and or to max out on credit and payday loans. Unsurprisingly this then escalates to a point where another source of funds is required, and forms of criminality emerge. These range from fraudulent use of a relative’s credit card and low-level theft through to major criminal acts, very often against an employer.
Although the majority of these events are unlikely to be reported or are resolved before they reach court here are a few examples of those that have done so.
- The Chief Executive of Birmingham Dogs Home (opens in new tab) who defrauded the charity of £900K which was spent on gambling.
- A member of staff at Dundee Council (opens in new tab) who defrauded the authority of £500,000 in order to feed his gambling habit.
- A man who stole his grandmother’s life savings (opens in new tab) of £430,000 to maintain his gambling behaviour .
One recurring theme is how frequently the offenders are in a position of trust, either at work or domestically. In this case a woman was able to steal (opens in new tab) more than £2m from her employer by paying the cash to an unknown supplier.
Yet people need not be in a position of financial control to commit fraud to fund their gambling as this story of a postman who stole (opens in new tab) from items on his deliver round illustrates.
These eye-catching headlines are only the tip of the iceberg however they serve to illustrate the point. It should come as no surprise then that the findings from a pilot study of custody suite inmates (opens in new tab) in Cheshire revealed that they were 13 times more likely to be experiencing problem gambling issues than the population at large.
More generally the relationship between crime and gambling is still poorly understood and it is for this reason that the Commission has approved a regulatory settlement enabling the Howard League for Penal Reform (opens in new tab) to establish a Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling (opens in new tab) to ask three questions
- What are the links between problem gambling and crime?
- What impact do these links have on communities and society?
- What should be done?
Over a three-year period, the commissioners will investigate patterns of crime linked to problem gambling, and the societal harms that connect the two, before seeking to make recommendations for government, the gambling industry and within the criminal justice system.
We also information on our website about setting up Betwatch schemes. These local schemes are designed to share intelligence primarily amongst bookmakers (but can be extended to include other gambling establishments) about anti-social behaviour and problematic customers.
LA Bulletin February 2020 - Advice and guidance updates
Resources about gambling for parents and those working with young people
Following some recent enquiries about information for children and young people, LAs are reminded that a range of educational resources exists for those working with children and young people including:
YGAM (opens in new tab) (The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust) is a national charity focused on education and informing young people about the consequences of gambling and gaming. A range of resources and workshops are available for those working with young and vulnerable people.
PSHE Association (opens in new tab) and GambleAware (opens in new tab) have produced a free teacher’s handbook How to address gambling through PSHE education (opens in new tab) as tool to support children and young people understand, and avoid, risks associated with gambling.
Demos (opens in new tab) have piloted and evaluated resources (available in English and Welsh) designed to build up the resilience of 14–15 year olds to the risks related to gambling the resilience.
Youth charity Fast Forward (opens in new tab) in partnership with GambleAware (opens in new tab) have produced free online resources and information about youth gambling, designed with and for practitioners who work with young people.
GambleAware (opens in new tab) has partnered with Parent Zone (opens in new tab) to produce videos, tools and guidance for parents and teachers aimed at supporting young people to stay in control of their finances and understand the risks of gambling.
The Commission and others have commissioned research into young people and gambling including:
- Ipsos Mori (opens in new tab) (for the Commission) young people & gambling research published in October 2019 looking at the gambling behaviours of 11-16 year olds in Great Britain.
- YGAM (opens in new tab) research into How gaming and gambling affect student life (opens in new tab) (published September 2019)
- Report for GambleAware (opens in new tab) looking at the gambling behaviour and impacts of 17-24 year olds A longitudinal study of gambling in late adolescence and early adulthood (opens in new tab) (published December 2019).
How GAMSTOP applies to lottery operators licensed by the Commission
We recently announced that from 31 March all online gambling operators must participate in the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP (opens in new tab), which will allow consumers to self-exclude from online operators with one request rather than from each operator individually
In terms of lotteries, the only lottery operators that need to participate in GAMSTOP (opens in new tab) are those licensed by the Commission who offer online Instant Win Games (and then only in relation to those games).
Online instant win games (IWGs) are games that are offered through a website where it is a requirement for the customer to have an account with the operator to play. Customers play these games online, with results confirmed instantly, and there is no physical scratch card sent to the customer.
In contrast, scratch card games are physical tickets and can be purchased from a retailer, charity etc. either remotely (over the telephone or via an online shop, where the tickets are then mailed out to the player) or in person.
It is only operators that are offering online IWGs that need to participate in GAMSTOP (opens in new tab). The sale of physical tickets via remote means is not included in the code provision for online multi-operator self-exclusion.
Any lottery operator that is considering offering online IWGs should contact GAMSTOP (opens in new tab) (firstname.lastname@example.org) for advice and support about what they would need to do to integrate before they started to offer online IWGs.
NB: This new GAMSTOP (opens in new tab) requirement does not apply to small society lottery operators.
William Hill and Reading PA
LAs are advised that William Hill now has a Primary Authority (PA) advice only partnership with Reading Borough Council (previously it was with Westminster City Council). As with all other gambling PAs, the partnership applies to policies and procedures relating to age verification only and not any other aspects of the Gambling Act.
Be aware of OUNs!
As preparations gear up for some of the big racing events, LAs are reminded that Occasional Use Notices (OUN) are designed to allow licensed betting operators to provide betting facilities at genuine sporting events, such as point-to point racecourses and golf courses for major competitions, within the boundaries of the identified venue on a specific date.
We are aware of a small number of instances whereby OUNs have been misused. Local sporting clubs, or other venues seeking to become tracks through a contrived sporting event, have utilised OUNs to solely or primarily facilitate betting taking place on events occurring away from the identified venue.
For example, a local hotel or club could seek to host a themed event coinciding with the Cheltenham Festival (March 10 – 13) and the Aintree Grand National meeting (April 2 – 4), claiming that a darts competition will be taking place at the venue thus permitting that a bookmaker could attend and accept bets on the darts event when in reality they will primarily be there to take bets on the horse-racing taking place elsewhere.
Please ensure that you contact your local compliance manager for advice if you should receive an OUN that does not relate to a genuine recognised sporting event.
LAs are also reminded that an OUN must be submitted for EACH day that the betting activity will be conducted on the premises. For example 4 notices for 4 consecutive days of betting and not one notice covering the 4 days.
Premises register data review
Thank you to those LAs that have responded to our requests to confirm that the information held in the register, is accurate and/or provide amendments.
We continue to work on cleansing the register which is compiled from gambling premises information submitted to us by LAs. If you have yet to receive any correspondence about this data cleanse exercise please contact our data management team who are coordinating the work email@example.com
LAs are reminded to use the correct statutory forms for notification of grants, variations etc to the Commission and other responsible authorities.
Updates on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms
LA Bulletin - 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 (opens in new tab),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 firstname.lastname@example.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 - 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 to the Commission via complianceteamCB@gamblingcommission.gov.uk so that we can continue to build a broad picture of premises’ compliance.
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:
- Public health and gambling
- Sharing information and intelligence
- Statement of Principles (for councillors)
- Money laundering
- Gaming machines in pubs
- Race night, casino night or poker night
- Members’ club or commercial club
- Poker in clubs
- Poker in pubs
- Facilitating betting in pubs and clubs is illegal
- Skills with prizes
- Illegal gaming machines
- Comparing lottery ticket dispensers and B3A machines
- Illegal siting of gaming machines
- Fairs and fairgrounds
- Running a lottery
- Running prize competitions and free draws
- Multi-activity sites
- Police statutory powers under the Gambling Act
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.
LA Bulletin - Find operating licence holders and premises licence register
In our public 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 email@example.com. 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.
Last updated: 20 July 2023
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