Licensing, Compliance and Enforcement Policy: Consultation Response
Proposal 7: Addition of new examples to update the Commission about
Updated paragraph 3.46
Once a licence has been granted and issued, it is important that licensees read through it to check that the details on the licence are correct and that they are familiar with the conditions attached to the licence. Licensees should also be aware of the changes and matters they must keep the Commission informed of whilst they are the holder of a licence. Failure to do so may result in regulatory action being taken. This includes, but is not restricted to:
- changes in ownership/control
- submission of timely and accurate regulatory returns
- submission of timely variation application if a licensee is likely to exceed the fee category limit of its licence.
- Q11. To what extent do you agree that the amended wording with the inclusion of some examples will assist operators in understanding the importance of reporting key changes and matters to the Commission?
The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal and noted:
- further examples should be added, for example changes to corporate and/or governance structures, change of name and/or organisation, changes to ‘natural persons' benefitting from the gambling operations, all key events should be included
- for the timely submission of variation applications, the Commission should mandate when such an application should be made, for example when a certain percentage is reached
- exceeding a fee category should not be treated as a breach but operators given an opportunity to pay the new fee
- changes in ownership should be approved in advance
- underlines the importance of key event reporting.
Respondents also made the following comments:
- the policy suggests the onus is on the applicant to self-police the correctness of the licence when the Commission is operating for this specific reason
- licences should have an expiry date and require review (at the applicant’s cost) on a periodic basis (3 years). This would ensure validity as well as appropriateness and enable the Commission to update applicant requirements based on technological and other changes and/or advancements
- definition of ‘timely’ is required as it is difficult for operators to know whether they will breach their fee category and clearer guidance required on what percentage constitutes a change of controller
- content in new paragraph is already covered elsewhere, for example in Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (‘LCCP’) so not needed here and there is no rationale to explain the inclusion.
The intention of the addition of examples is not to provide an exhaustive list of all matters that licensees should report to the Commission and we agree that these matters are set out in the LCCP and/or on our website. However, some licensees are not reporting these changes, submitting regulatory returns, or submitting variation and/or change of control applications in the required timescales. We remain of the view that the addition of some key examples highlights to licensees the importance of these matters and, by extension, the importance of reading and understanding their licence conditions thoroughly and putting in place mechanisms to comply.
It should be noted that licences do not have an expiry date and changes to this would require changes to the Gambling Act 2005.
In respect of timely submission of variation applications, it remains the responsibility of the licensee to have controls in place to monitor its activities and ensure it is complying with requirements. This includes understanding when they may be nearing their fee category limit and submitting the application in sufficient time to allow the Commission to consider and grant it before the fee category is exceeded. The fee category limits are clearly set out on all licences.
An application for a licence is granted because the applicant has demonstrated their ability to comply with requirements, so the onus is very firmly and rightly on a licensee to make sure they are operating compliantly.
Proposal 6: Clarification of financing arrangements Next section
Proposal 8: Minor updates to reflect minor changes to processes in the policy
Last updated: 22 June 2022
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