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Licensing Authority Bulletin June 2019
Published: 1 July 2019
Last updated: 29 November 2023
This version was printed or saved on: 1 December 2023
Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/authorities/guide/licensing-authority-bulletin-june-2019
Overview: ## News
We are pleased to say that for the sixth year running all 380 LAs submitted their annual returns. Many thanks again to LAs for their submissions and for responding to queries as we carried out the data cleanse exercise. The report analysing the returns will be published at the end of September 2019.
The latest statistics published in May, provide the latest information on each industry sector we regulate, which includes online gambling services offered to customers in Great Britain. Headline findings for the period between October 2017 – September 2018 include:
The three year National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms was recently launched in Cardiff with stakeholders from across the region. Our Chief Executive Neil McArthur was joined by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton as well as Chair of the Cross-Party Group for Problem Gambling in the Welsh Assembly, Mick Antoniw to discuss the collective effort the strategy will take to tackle harms across Wales.
Dr Frank Atherton, said: “I welcome the shift in emphasis in this new strategy to focus on reducing gambling harms, rather than simply promoting responsible gambling as an approach to tackling this public health issue. Building the resilience of children and young people is essential to reducing these harms, as is understanding, through increasing the availability of robust and independent research, the most effective measures for intervention.”
At the launch with stakeholders in Edinburgh which included Dr Phil Mackie from the Scottish Public Health Network, Bill Moyes, chairman of the Commission, said: “The new strategy will provide us and our partners across Scotland the opportunity to make faster progress to reduce gambling harms. It will address not only the harms experienced by people who gamble but will also focus upon the impact that can be felt by friends, family and the wider community.”
As part of the National Strategy a new framework to understand gambling harms experienced by children and young people has been developed by Ipsos MORI in collaboration with the Commission, Advisory Board for Safer Gambling and GambleAware (opens in new tab).
A specific framework is needed for children and young people because key aspects of their lives differ from adults which affects the ways in which they are likely to experience harm from gambling. Firstly, childhood and adolescence is a key stage of development. This means that harms are likely to impact their future potential as well as having impacts in childhood and adolescence. Children and young people are also financially and emotionally dependent on others to a greater extent than adults are. This means that as well as their own gambling, the gambling of others, especially parents, has the potential to cause harm.
This initial framework is designed to help guide and focus research and action to reduce gambling harms in children and young people.
In May GambleAware, the leading charity which commissions research, education and treatment aimed at reducing gambling-related harms across Great Britain, launched its Welsh and Scottish Advisory Panels in Cardiff and Edinburgh respectively, with the Commission in attendance at both meetings.
The Advisory Panels will advise trustees and its senior management team on setting priorities for the charity’s activities in both Scotland and Wales and will involve relevant government officials and stakeholders in both nations.
The Panels will meet to review its existing research and activity in Scotland and Wales, suggest new activity and provide feedback on and input to decisions affecting GambleAware’s work. The Panels will also review needs assessments; referral and treatment pathways and the effectiveness of its awareness and preventative behaviour change campaigns.
The Commission visited Edinburgh at the end of April as part of its wider engagement programme with key stakeholders, operators and partners. Our Chairman Bill Moyes, Chief Executive Neil McArthur and Commissioner John Baillie met with representatives of four of the Scottish Distributors of funding from the National Lottery and then met with the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman MSP to discuss the Commission’s recently launched National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
In May youth charity Fast Forward (opens in new tab) launched the Scottish Gambling Education Network (opens in new tab) (SGEN) by hosting a showcase performance of Flutter. Fast Forward rolled out its national gambling education and prevention programme, the Gambling Education Hub several months ago and SGEN is a core element of the work carried out by the Hub. It provides the only platform in Scotland bringing together organisations, practitioners and groups of young people, with the aim to share best practices, offer support and help establish, sustain and expand local gambling education projects. The first SGEN quarterly network meeting (opens in new tab) is taking place on the 26th of June.
The national Pubwatch “Good Practice Pub” (opens in new tab) has a new section focusing on gambling in pubs, covering what is permitted in pubs in terms of gaming machines and exempt gaming and the requirements of the Commission’s codes of practice for pubs.
In February 2018 the Commission published a briefing paper Gambling-related harm as a public health issue for councils setting out the reasons why gambling related harm is a public health issue. Gambling habits had not been thought of in public health terms before but research shows that problem gambling can be co-morbid with other conditions such as mental health problems or substance misuse. The report estimates the cost to the public purse of problem gambling between £260 million and £1.2 billion a year in England. Local authorities were asked to target gambling operators to ensure that all appropriate safeguards are in place to protect those most at risk of gambling harm.
In response to this paper the shared service for environmental health in Rother & Wealden designed an inspection project for the betting shops.
The aim was to reduce the likelihood and severity of gambling related harms on the young and those vulnerable to gambling, in accordance with the Gambling Act 2005 – Statement of Principles. The second aim was to reduce the likelihood and severity of work related violence to employees by ensuring that employers effectively manage health and safety, given that the incidence of violence in betting shops against workers, often alone and at, has seen a dramatic increase in recent years. The Metropolitan Police estimate that violence in and around betting shops in London increased by 24% from 630 violent incidents in 2014 to 780 in 2016.
Rother & Wealden’s environmental health officers (EHO) are authorised and experienced in both health and safety at work and licensing. The Commission provided training on site for all officers involved in the project. A letter was sent to each betting shop explaining that an inspection was to be made for both licensing and health and safety purposes and an appointment requested.
The EHOs inspected each betting shop using both the LLEP betting inspection form (opens in new tab) and a purpose designed work related violence form. Each inspection took an average of two hours, advice was given as appropriate and instant feedback confirmed in a handwritten report. Each business received a formal letter setting out the findings of the inspection. Overall compliance with both licensing and health and safety was good. The most common licensing issues identified were lack of plan, out of date plan, not displaying terms and conditions of the reward scheme, problem gambling literature not displayed clearly.
Health and safety issues included risk assessments not available locally, out of date risk assessments, blind spots in shops (typically in the corridor to WC), lone workers vulnerability and lack of supervision in shop when using WC. Recent reports of violence included verbal abuse, robbery and armed robbery.
Una Kane, Environmental Health Manger said it reassuring that compliance was good and further inspections were not planned this year. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more information.
The LA part of our website contains a reducing gambling harms resources section giving local agencies – public health, licensing, 3rd sector and others - links to the information, advice and resources that are available to help develop a local approach to the implementation of the new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
Many authorities, particularly public health teams, have questions about ‘the scale of the problem’ locally. The Annual Report (2018) from the Director of Public Health in Wirral (opens in new tab) explains how they have gone about analysing that question. A slightly different approach has been taken by Swindon (opens in new tab) who conducted a Gambling Related Harms Rapid Needs Assessment.
One key ingredient in making a Strategy work and obtaining buy in is to secure senior level, including Cabinet level, engagement. That is the approach that Stockton Council (opens in new tab) has taken, leading to the publication of an Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee report which forms the basis of an action plan for the Council. As its foreword says ‘ As a Council we must engage with partners to mitigate (gambling) harms and promote a safer approach to gambling. Our report highlights the importance of this emerging issue and we look forward to see how this work progresses.’
Aside from the questions about the scale of the ‘problem’ there is very often a question about who to target and where they live. Two approaches can help in this.
There are also links to online resources that can help in progressing a local strategy:
There are many more links to the resources available as well as the initiatives being taken at a national level to implement the National Strategy. It is regularly updated to take account of recent changes.
Another resource for councils is the Citizens Advice (opens in new tab) gambling support service. In 2018 GambleAware (opens in new tab) announced a £1.5m partnership with Citizens Advice designed to help front line staff better understand, prevent and reduce gambling related harms – to be delivered via 10 hubs in England and 2 in Wales.
LAs should contact their local hub to get more detail about the free services available to them which includes training front line staff, support for campaigns and raise raising and help with screening/assessment questionnaires. Citizens Advice also has a new gambling advice area (opens in new tab) on its website.
Citizens Advice Mid Mercia
Website: www.citizensadvicemidmercia.org.uk (opens in new tab)
Contact: email@example.com (Greg)
Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire & South Northants
Website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/north-oxon-south-northants (opens in new tab)
Citizens Advice Hampshire
Website: citahants.org (opens in new tab)
Consortia - does not provide advice (but in partnership with some Local Citizens Advice who are home-based)
Citizens Advice Denbighshire
Website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/denbighshire (opens in new tab)
Given the continued growth in online gambling and the reduction in the number of land-based gambling premises which looks set to continue, particularly in view of the recent B2 stake cuts in betting shops, we will be adjusting the support provided to LAs. The support we will continue to provide includes:
We remain committed to working collaboratively with LAs and will continue to do so.
We have conducted compliance visits across the country to identify if there are non-compliant products available to consumers. We have already taken action to ensure some products that caused us concern were removed and our investigations and compliance activity are ongoing. This includes consideration of ‘in game’ features within some gaming machines and information provision. Where we conclude products are non-compliant, we will take appropriate action.
We are now reviewing the responses provided as part of the call for evidence: player protections on Category B gaming machines (opens in new tab) and will consider what further action or changes may be required to ensure player protection remains an ongoing consideration.
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 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 above mentioned LCCP changes, and the statement on entry advice has been updated 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).
The Institute of Licensing (opens in new tab) and the Commission have worked together to produce some gambling e-learning modules:
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 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.
Some quick guides are designed to give to operators when undertaking visits, others provide an accessible ‘how to’ for licensing staff:
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.
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).
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.