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Licensing Authority Bulletin January 2020


New local public health pathfinder in North West

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (opens in new tab) has announced that it will deliver a programme of work which underpins the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, supported by funding approved by the Gambling Commission.

Ten local authorities will work together to increase support for those experiencing harm, improve prevention programmes across the region, collect evidence of the impact of interventions and share best practice as part of a gambling harm reduction group.

As part of enforcement action taken against gambling operators for regulatory breaches, the operator can offer to make a payment in lieu of a financial penalty to be spent on socially responsible purposes. A full list of organisations that have received regulatory settlements for socially responsible purposes has also been published.

Spotlight on councils and public health in the latest National Strategy newsletter

This month’s newsletter highlights some of the significant work underway and more detail behind progress being made by partners to reduce gambling harms through implementing the National Strategy. In particular, the newsletter focuses on the range of innovative and varied approaches that Public health teams and local authorities across Great Britain are taking to implementing the Strategy and make real progress towards preventing gambling harm.

Updates on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

If you are interested in signing up to the latest developments on the National Strategy please email

Ban on gambling on credit cards

From 14 April 2020 gambling businesses will be banned from allowing consumers in Great Britain to use credit cards to gamble. The ban, which will apply to all online and offline gambling products with the exception of non-remote lotteries, will provide a significant layer of additional protection to vulnerable people

24 million adults in Great Britain gamble, with 10.5 million of those gambling online. UK Finance estimate that 800,000 consumers use credit cards to gamble. Separate research undertaken by the Commission shows that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards to gamble are classed as problem gamblers – with even more at some risk of harm.

ASA report on children’s exposure to gambling (and other age restricted) adverts

In December the Advertising Standards Authority (opens in new tab) published figures showing rates of children’s exposure to age-restricted TV ads, i.e. alcohol, gambling and food and soft drink products which are high in fat, salt or sugar.

The report covers 2008-2018 and shows a decline, since 2013, in children’s exposure to TV ads for gambling:

  • Number of gambling ads seen by children on TV has fallen to 3.2 per week in 2018 from 4.4. in 2013.
  • Gambling ads made up less than 2% of all the TV ads that children saw on average every year between 2008 and 2017. This rose to 2.2% in 2018.
  • Children’s exposure to gambling ads, relative to adults’, has fallen year-on-year from 38.6% in 2008 to 20.4% in 2018. Children saw an average of one gambling ad on TV for every five seen by adults in 2018.
  • The majority of the TV gambling adverts seen by children since 2011 are for bingo, lotteries and scratchcards.
  • Children’s exposure to sports-related gambling was highest in 2011 (1 ad per week) and lowest in 2017 (0.4 ads per week). In 2018, children saw 0.7 sports betting ads per week.

New survey questions developed to understand gambling harms experienced by children and young people

GambleAware commissioned Ipsos MORI to develop and test as series of new questions aimed at identifying and better measuring the types of harms experienced by children and young people resulting from their own gambling and from the gambling of others. The questions will be included in this year’s Young People and Gambling Survey.

Independent advice on actions to reduce online gambling harm

The Advisory Board for Safer Gambling and the Digital Advisory Panel have published recommendations on steps the Commission should consider for making online gambling safer.

These recommendations include developing a better understanding of the link between game design and gambling harms, trialling new approaches to harm education through evaluation and information sharing and engaging with consumers who have gambled online to understand their experiences and help drive change.

Online multi operators self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP

By 31 March all online gambling operators must participate in the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme GAMSTOP (opens in new tab). The scheme will allow consumers to self-exclude from online operators with one request rather than from each operator individually. Although the vast majority of operators are already participating in GAMSTOP (opens in new tab), with over 200 online operators this will make the coverage comprehensive and will make access to self-exclusion much simpler for those who wish to be prevented from online gambling.

New working groups to raise standards and reduce gambling harm

We have announced the formation of three industry working groups to tackle key challenges as part of a drive to make gambling safer.

Led by senior leaders in the gambling industry the three collaboration groups will focus on

  • Game and product design - to produce an effective Industry Code for responsible product and game design
  • Advertising technology - to explore and quickly accelerate opportunities to reduce the amount of advertising seen by children, young people and vulnerable adults.
  • High value customer incentives - to gamble to look at how the existing rules about the use VIP incentives can be strengthened.

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/local police are interested in undertaking some joint visits that week with your compliance manager to gambling premises or alcohol licensed premises, undertaking test purchasing or receiving some gambling training then please contact your local compliance manager.

Policing Strategy for Scotland

Police Scotland (opens in new tab) published updated policing priorities (opens in new tab) in December to ensure the service responds to future demands covering the next six years. The revised strategic police priorities (SPPs), followed extensive consultation over the summer and autumn, and reflect developments and progress in police operations and governance.

The revised SPPs include one on partnerships which involved working “collaboratively to keep communities safe, sharing a collective responsibility to deliver preventative services that improve outcomes for individuals, increase resilience and address vulnerability.”

LA Bulletin January 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 January 2020 - Case studies

In late November last year, in collaboration with colleagues from Police Scotland, Commission officers visited several alcohol licensed premises in Dundee as part of an educational awareness raising exercise to assess their compliance with the Code of Practice for gaming machines in alcohol licensed premises.

The visits identified that the premises were generally compliant, however in one licensed premises one gaming machine had to be switched off because the new operator of the pub had not advised the Licensing Board of this change in relation to the gaming machine automatic entitlement. In another premises, one gaming machine was temporarily switched off because the operator could not produce their gaming permit. In another premises, there was very low awareness on the part of the duty manager of the requirements of the Code of Practice.

Although the five premises visited were generally compliant in relation to the operation of their machines, there was very low awareness of the wider detail of the Code of Practice. Similar exercises are planned in partnership with Police Scotland (opens in new tab) and LAs in Scotland over the coming months.

LA Bulletin January 2020 - Feature article Small society lottery applications – things to consider

Application and registration process for small society lotteries (SSL)

Parts 4 and 5 of Schedule 11 of the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab) (the Act) sets out the registration process for small society lotteries. When you receive an SSL application, you will need to refer to the Act’s (opens in new tab)the Act’s definition of a small society lottery. This falls into two distinct areas:

a) Society status – the society in question must be ‘non-commercial’ and must have been set up for one of the purposes listed in section 19 of the Act (opens in new tab). Society lotteries can only be run for non-commercial purposes and not for personal or private gain.

b) Lottery size - the total value of tickets to be put on sale per single lottery must be £20,000 or less, or the aggregate value of tickets to be put on sale for all their lotteries in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000. If the operator plans to exceed either of these values, then they may need to be licensed with the Commission to operate large lotteries instead.

Ways to set up a non-commercial society

There are several ways in which a non-commercial society can be set up. They might decide to go down a more formal route (if applicable) such as:

a) register as a charity with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (opens in new tab) or the Scottish Charity Regulator (opens in new tab) (OSCR) for Scotland

b) apply to become a Community Interest Company (opens in new tab) (CIC)

c) register as a Community Amateur Sports Club (opens in new tab) (CASC)

d) set up as a Community Benefit Society (opens in new tab) - this is an organisation formed and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The entity is governed by the Co-operative and Community Benefits Societies Act 2014. However, these organisations are highly specialist in nature and can be very expensive to set up and maintain and are therefore probably not viable for a small society lottery.

A society set up as one of the above would qualify as a non-commercial society and be permitted to apply for a small society lottery registration.

It is important to remember though that it is not mandatory for a non-commercial society to set themselves up in the formal ways listed above. The Guidance to Licensing Authorities (GLA) provides further advice when considering small society lottery applications (Part 34). It says that as part of the application process, you are encouraged to ask applicants for:

a) a copy of their terms and conditions

b) a copy of their constitution to establish that they are a non-commercial society, and

c) the local authority may also choose to require applicants to provide a declaration, stating that they represent a bona fide non-commercial society.

The GLA further says that you should also consider whether such a declaration is sufficient in the particular circumstances of each case or whether there are additional factors, such as an unusual or novel purpose of the society, which may suggest that further enquiry is needed. For every application you receive, you must establish that they are a non-commercial society and not for personal or private gain.

So how do you decide if a society is non-commercial in these circumstances?

The Explanatory Notes to section 19 (opens in new tab), provides an example. It says genuine societies that are set up to provide a child with medical care or sports sponsorship are likely to be non-commercial societies and not private gain.

However, a society set up for political purposes would need to be set up to promote the party or group as a whole in order to be non-commercial. If they were set up to raise money to pay an individual political candidate or candidates, for their own benefit, this would be private gain and they would not be permitted to apply for a small society lottery registration.

It is therefore important that you carefully consider whether the constitution/ aims and objectives of the society are non-commercial and have been set up for one of the purposes listed in section 19 of the Act (opens in new tab).

Please remember that while the Commission aims to adopt a position of support and assistance for local authorities in carrying out your functions, ultimately, the responsibility for every licensing decision rests with the local authority itself, in line with the principle of local accountability. It is therefore for each local authority to decide whether you are satisfied an applicant is a bona fide non-commercial society.

Other requirements for setting up a small society lottery

There are also other requirements that must be met with regards to setting up a small society lottery.

Although the Act (opens in new tab) is not explicit in stipulating the number of members required within a small society lottery Schedule 11, Part 3, paragraph 39 of the Act (opens in new tab) indicates the minimum number that a society must have.

It states that all lottery returns must be signed off by two appointed members of the society, who are aged 18 or older, and a copy of their letter(s) of appointment must be submitted with the lottery return(s).

It is therefore reasonable to advise that the society must have at least two members within their society, who must be aged 18 or older, and have been appointed for this purpose (in writing) by the society or, if it has one, its governing body. A copy of their letter or letters of appointment must be evidenced and provided to you.

Finally, it is important to note that a small society lottery is required to register with the applicable local authority with which their principal office is located. If you believe that a society’s principal office is situated in another area, you should inform the society and the other local authority as soon as possible.

To assist you and/ or small society lottery applicants, further information on the requirements for small society lotteries can be found in Part 34 of the Guidance to Licensing Authorities and our advice note Promoting society and local authority lotteries.

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 so that we can continue to build a broad picture of premises’ compliance.

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 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

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 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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