20.1 S.353 of the Act defines a track as a horse racecourse, greyhound track or other premises on any part of which a race or other sporting event takes place or is intended to take place.
20.2 The Act does not give a list of premises that are officially recognised as ‘tracks’ but there are a number of venues where sporting events do or could take place, and accordingly could accommodate the provision of betting facilities. Examples of tracks include:
20.3 This list is not exhaustive as, in theory, betting could take place at any venue where a sporting or competitive event is occurring. While many of these venues are not commonly understood to be ‘tracks’, they fall within the definition of ‘track’ in the Act. Licensing authorities may be of the view that they have few tracks in their area, but the definition in the Act means that most licensing authorities are likely to have venues that could be classified as a track for betting purposes.
20.4 The Act also provides for tracks which do not currently offer betting facilities, but may elect to do so at some stage in the future. This means that land which has a number of uses, one of which fulfils the definition of a track, could qualify for a premises licence. Examples could include agricultural land upon which a point-to-point meeting takes place or a theatre, arena or exhibition centre where sporting events such as darts or snooker competitions are held. Under the Act, these may all be classified as tracks.
20.5 The Act does not define what constitutes a sporting event or race and licensing authorities will need to decide this on a case by case basis. The Commission is aware of some instances of the apparent misuse of occasional use notices (OUNs), by the arrangement of a contrived sporting event at a premises solely in order to apply for an OUN and to permit betting on premises where it would not normally be allowed. Further details can be found in Part 15.
20.6 If an individual or company wants to offer betting facilities on a sporting event then different forms of ‘approval’ are available, one of which must be obtained if betting is to be provided, irrespective of whether the betting is generally incidental to the main sporting activity. The different types of approval for the provision of betting facilities at premises are:
20.7 There are differences between track premises licences and most other premises licences. In essence, tracks admit third-party operators to provide betting facilities, whereas other premises licence holders – betting shops, bingo clubs and casinos for instance – provide the gambling facilities themselves and are subject to the conditions of the operating licence as well as the premises licence.
20.8 The Act recognises that tracks are primarily premises intended for entertainment other than gambling and therefore places no restrictions on offering ancillary entertainment including allowing music, dancing or other entertainment on the premises and the sale of alcohol.
20.9 Tracks are also recognised as multi-purpose venues having a wide range of facilities that enable them to host various other activities, often on non-event days, including:
20.10 While there is no special class of betting premises licence for a track, the Act does contain rules which apply specifically to premises licences granted in respect of a track.
20.11 Premises licences in relation to tracks differ from other types of premises licence in a number of ways. Most importantly, the applicant for the licence need not hold an operating licence from the Commission (Section 159 (4) of the Act).
20.12 Tracks may be subject to more than one premises licence, provided each licence relates to a specified area of the track. For example, a limited number of track premises licences will be held by operators of pool betting licences, who may also have an alcohol licence for the premises. The Act sets out that there can be a primary premises licence for the track and, in addition, subsidiary premises licences for other parts of the track (Section 152 (3) of the Act). This allows track venues to develop leisure facilities such as a casino and apply for a premises licence for that part of the track.
20.13 The offence of inviting or permitting a child or young person to enter gambling premises under s.47 of the Act, does not apply to tracks (s.47(4)). Children and young persons are allowed to be present on the track while a sporting event is taking place on those licensed premises. Paragraph 20.28 details the position for non-event days.
20.14 There are also a number of track premises licence holders who have an operating licence because they provide facilities for pool betting. These operators, such as greyhound track owners, in addition to admitting 3rd party betting operators, run their own pool betting facilities as permitted by s.179, and are subject to licence conditions applicable to their status as both betting operators and track premises licence holders.
20.15 On a limited number of occasions it has been suggested that areas on a track such as a hospitality box have been used as a trading room. Were this to be the case a betting premises licence would be required separate to the overall track premises licence. The Commission’s approach to the subject is detailed in an advice note Is a trading room licence required? (this advice note does not form part of the Guidance to licensing authorities). If a licensing authority is in any doubt as to the status of such an operation they should contact the Commission.
20.16 There are various types of betting which take place in relation to tracks, often divided into ‘on-course’ and ‘off-course’.
20.17 The on-course betting operator is one who comes onto the track, temporarily, while races or sporting events are taking place. On-course betting operators tend to offer betting only on the events taking place on the track, that day. For example, betting operators attending horserace and greyhound racing meetings will only attend on race days. Similarly, betting operators at cricket and football grounds are only likely to attend on days when matches are taking place.
20.18 Betting on tracks is organised in different ways and can take place in different parts of the track in many different forms. These include the following:
‘Betting rings’The ring can be dispersed throughout the track, and can include ‘temporary’ rings at large meetings, but all different locations form part of the betting area. On-course betting operators will be located in the betting ring according to a position (pitch) allocated to them under the commercial arrangement they have with the track owner.
Betting counters or kiosksA betting counter or booth may be a permanent or temporary outlet from which a bookmaker provides betting facilities. Examples include manned stands or porta-cabins located at football grounds on match days, and the temporary kiosks used by bookmakers at cricket grounds during test matches.
Mobile bettingMobile betting machines (often handheld) operated by employees of betting operators allow customers to place a bet or receive payouts away from betting kiosks or the betting ring, most commonly in hospitality areas.
Self-service betting terminals (SBBTs)SSBT, described in paragraph 19.6, lack the direct human intervention of a betting counter staffed by a cashier, and can be located at different parts of tracks. See below more details on SSBTs at tracks.
Pool betting (also known as totalisator betting or the Tote)This involves the pooling of stakes on a given event, and the splitting of the total pool, less a commission for the operator amongst the winners. This form of betting at racetracks is currently only provided by the Tote. In 2011 the Tote was purchased by Betfred. As part of the sale process Betfred received an exclusive seven year licence to offer pool betting on UK horseracing, which expires in 2018. Pool betting is also offered at greyhound tracks, usually by the owner of the track under a pool betting operating licence or a person authorised to act on their behalf. Tracks may also conduct inter-track pool betting when other tracks are holding races.
20.19 Off-course betting operators are those who provide betting facilities other than at a track in betting premises such as those found on the high street. In addition to premises away from the track, betting operators may operate self-contained betting premises or designated areas such as a row of betting kiosks within the track premises. Self-contained premises provide facilities for off-course betting (in effect, the opportunity to bet on other events not just those taking place on the track), although they normally operate only on race days.
20.20 The provision of off-course betting facilities as described above is generally conducted in reliance on the track premises licence held by the occupier of the track and consequently the off-course operator is prohibited from making any gaming machines available for use unless they hold a separate premises licence in relation to part of the track, ie a ‘subsidiary licence’. In order for a subsidiary licence to be secured, the track premises licence holder will need to vary their existing premises licence so that it does not have effect in relation to the area where the operator intends their subsidiary licence to have effect, and a separate betting premises licence would need to be secured by the off-course operator. Such a premises would then be subject to the conditions outlined in Part 19.
20.21 Licensing authorities are advised to familiarise themselves with the different types of licences that may be available on tracks.
20.22 A track premises licence permits the premises to be used for the provision of facilities for betting, but does not permit the licence holder to provide casino, bingo or other types of gambling on tracks, as these activities must be the subject of separate premises licences.
20.23 Sporting events and races take place at many different venues including hotels, conference centres, on agricultural land, and at designated sporting venues such as football grounds. In many cases such venues do not hold sporting events all year round and the number of ‘event’ days maybe limited. The Act provides that if certain conditions are met, a premises licence is not always required to permit betting facilities at such events.
20.24 S.39 of the Act provides that where there is betting on a track on eight days or fewer in a calendar year, betting may be permitted by an OUN, as described at Part 15 of this guidance. This permits licensed betting operators to provide facilities for betting on tracks for short periods. An OUN may be suitable for a point-to-point track which holds race meetings eight times a year or less. No conditions are attached to an OUN. However, only licensed betting operators may offer betting facilities at such tracks, otherwise an offence would be committed under s.33 of the Act.
20.25 All track premises licences are subject to a default condition that gambling facilities can only be provided at the track between the hours of 7am and 10pm (SI no 1409: The Gambling Act 2005 (Mandatory and Default Conditions) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 and SSI no 266: The Gambling Act 2005 (Mandatory and Default Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2007). Gambling facilities can be provided during this time, regardless of whether or not a sporting event is taking place. The default condition does not apply however on days when a sporting event is taking place on the premises.
20.26 On days when no sporting event is taking place, a track premises licence is subject to the default condition on times.
20.27 Some tracks have traditionally offered, and will wish to continue to offer, facilities for gambling outside the proposed gambling hours on non-event days. For example, to screen live televised events from other time-zones (which may take place after 10pm or before 7am) and provide betting facilities during those events. Tracks can apply for the default condition to be amended or removed to address this.
20.28 Where tracks plan to open and allow provision for betting facilities on non-event days, betting operators will need to either exclude children from the premises on these days or demonstrate that they are able to exclude children and young persons from betting areas (Section 182 (2) of the Act (as amended by SI 2007 – 1410)). In simple terms, on non-event days, tracks become similar to licensed betting offices on the high street. Tracks may achieve this requirement by:
20.29 Licensing authorities may choose to reduce the default gambling hours, providing any reduction is in line with the principles set out in s.153 of the Act.
20.30 The achievement of the licensing objectives requires betting operators to adopt socially responsible gambling policies and procedures designed both to ensure that gambling is open and fair and that children and other vulnerable people are not harmed or exploited by gambling.
20.31 While betting operators must put into effect policies and procedures to promote socially responsible gambling, there is no equivalent requirement on track premises licence holders. However, s.182(1)(a) of the Act places a condition on the track premises licence that the licensee shall ensure that children and young persons are excluded from any area where facilities for betting are provided.
20.32 As with other aspects of regulation licensing authorities may wish to make clear in their statement of policy any particular concerns or expectations that they have in relation to track premises licence holders and betting operators who provide facilities from the track.
20.33 A track premises licence does not of itself entitle the holder to provide gaming machines, as this type of premises licence can be held without any corresponding operating licence. However, by virtue of s.172(9) of the Act, track owners holding both a track premises licence and a pool betting operating licence issued by the Commission (currently only greyhound tracks), may site up to four gaming machines within categories B2 to D on the track.
20.34 Some tracks will also hold an alcohol licence and as such they will be automatically entitled under s.282 of the Act to two gaming machines of category C or D. This permission is activated by notifying the licensing authority and paying the required fee. If a track premises licence holder has both an alcohol licence and a pool betting operating licence, then they will be entitled to a total of six gaming machines (two via the alcohol licence and four via the operating licence).
20.35 Applications for licensed premises gaming machine permits to allow more than two gaming machines are not permitted where the premises are, or are part of, premises already covered by a premises licence including a betting premises licence in respect of a track (Schedule 13(1)(2), of the Act). However, there is a special saving for any alcohol-licensed premises within tracks in England and Wales which already had permission for more than two gaming machines pursuant to permits issued under s.34 of the Gaming Act 1968 and made an application for licensed premises gaming machine permits in accordance with transitional provisions (SI 2006/3272 - The Gambling Act 2005 (Commencement No.6 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2006 - Schedule 4, paragraphs 27 and 30).
20.36 Children and young persons can play category D gaming machines on a track, but are not allowed to play other categories of machine.
20.37 Alcohol premises licence holders who wish to make one or two gaming machines available for use in reliance on s.282 of the Act are required to send the licensing authority written notice of their intention and to pay the prescribed fee (SI 2007/1832 - Gaming Machines in Alcohol Licensed Premises (Notification Fee) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, Regulation 3). It is also a requirement that any relevant provision of a code of practice under s.24 about the location and operation of a gaming machine is complied with. This includes The gaming machine permits code of practice.
20.38 The Commission has attached a condition to all pool betting operating licences that the operator must:
20.39 S.235(2)(c) of the Act provides that a machine is not a gaming machine by reason only of the fact that it is designed or adapted for use to bet on future real events. Betting operators may make available machines that accept bets on live events, such as horseracing, as a substitute for placing a bet with a member of staff. These self-service betting terminals are not gaming machines; they merely automate the process that can be conducted in person and therefore are not regulated as gaming machines.
20.40 Licensed operators may install SSBTs on tracks. There is no restriction on the number of SSBTs that may be in use but operators must, by virtue of their operating licence conditions, supervise such terminals to prevent them being used by those under 18 years of age.
20.41 There is no formal requirement on track premises licence holders to involve themselves in the procedures used by betting operators to supervise their SSBTs (unless specific local conditions specifying supervisory arrangements are added to the track premises licence by the licensing authority). Some betting operators may agree supervisory assistance to be provided by employees of the track premises licence holders, but this is a commercial matter between the track owner and betting operators.
20.42 While track premises licence holders have no formal responsibilities in this regard, the Commission has advised them to inform it of instances where they are aware that betting operators are persistently failing to ensure the adequate supervision of their SSBTs.
20.43 S.151 of the Act requires applicants for premises licences to submit plans of the premises with their application. This ensures that licensing authorities have the necessary information to make an informed judgement about whether the premises are fit for gambling. The plan also informs future premises inspection activity.
20.44 Plans for tracks need not be in a particular scale, but should be drawn to scale and should be sufficiently detailed to include the information required by regulations.
20.45 In the majority of cases, such as greyhound tracks, racecourses, football stadia and cricket grounds, defining the extent of boundaries may be assisted by reference to existing plans already submitted to obtain other permissions. These could include:
20.46 It is sometimes difficult to define the precise location of betting areas on tracks. The precise location of where betting facilities are provided is not required to be shown on track plans, both by virtue of the fact that betting is permitted anywhere on the premises and because of the difficulties associated with pin-pointing exact locations for some types of track. Licensing authorities should satisfy themselves that the plan provides sufficient information to enable them to assess an application.
20.47 As the plan forms part of the licence document, it also needs to be sufficiently flexible to ensure that a relatively small change in the premises layout would not require an operator to submit an application to vary the track premises licence. Only a significant change to the track layout would require a licence variation. For example, moving a category C gaming machine from one end of a bar that had been marked on the plan as a gaming machine area to another may not necessitate a full variation to a tracks premises licence, nor would the establishment of a new betting area at a race track, as neither of these events have any impact on the purpose of the licence or the conditions attached to it. However, relocating category C machines to entirely different parts of a track would generally need to be the subject of an application to vary the premises licence.
20.48 Licensing authorities are required to ensure that premises are fit for a specific type of gambling. Premises which meet the conditions required to operate as, for example, a casino may not meet the requirements for offering track betting facilities.
20.49 S.152 of the Act provides that premises may not have more than one premises licence authorising a type of activity, with the exception of track premises, whereby a track may be the subject of multiple premises licences.
20.50 Access between premises licensed for gambling and non-gambling areas is an important local licensing consideration, for reasons such as the following:
20.51 As tracks may be the subject of multiple premises licences, regulations (SI 2007/1409: The Gambling Act 2005 (Mandatory and Default Conditions) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 and SSI no 266: The Gambling Act 2005 (Mandatory and Default Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2007) have been laid to stipulate the access requirements between gambling premises, and when entering or leaving gambling premises. By virtue of the regulations no direct access is allowed from a track to a casino or adult gaming centre. Therefore if, for example, a casino is built on a track premises that is the subject of a track premises licence, clearly defined public thoroughfares should be in place to ensure that customers have to leave one gambling premises, and be aware they have done so, before entering another.
20.52 Persons under 18 years old are not permitted to enter premises when betting facilities are being provided, other than at tracks. This dispensation allows families to attend premises such as greyhound tracks or racecourses on event days, and children to be permitted into areas where betting facilities are provided, such as the ‘betting ring’, where betting takes place.
20.53 Licensing authorities should note however that the exemption allowing children access to betting areas on tracks does not extend to areas within a track where category C or above machines are provided, or other premises to which under 18 year olds are specifically not permitted access. For example, where betting facilities are provided through a self-contained betting office on a track which has a separate betting premises licence, the betting operator of the self-contained premises is required to exclude under-18s from their premises.
20.54 The Act creates offences relating to gambling by children and young people and the operating licence conditions require operators to have policies and procedures in place to prevent betting from persons who are under 18 years old. As under-18s are permitted to enter betting areas on tracks on event days, this needs to include policies and procedures to mitigate the likelihood of underage betting occurring. The track premises licence holder is also required to display a notice in a prominent place at every public entrance stating that no person under the age of 18 is permitted to bet on the premises.
20.55 Licensing authorities should be aware that there is an anomaly in the Act, wholly prohibiting the employment of children and young people on tracks. DCMS will take steps to remedy this through the use of a Legislative Reform Order under the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2005. This will create an exemption under section 55 of the Gambling Act 2005, allowing the employment of children and young persons in non-gambling roles on tracks (such as racecourses) which hold a betting premises licence. This was the original policy intention which would allow young people to work as jockeys, stable lads or dog handlers. S 51 of the Act, which prohibits people under 18 from working in roles related to the provision of facilities for gambling, is not affected by these proposals and would continue to apply. The timescales for the DCMS consultation and Parliamentary consideration are yet to be decided.
20.56 S.152(3) of the Act permits the issuance of more than one premises licence for a track provided that each licence relates to a distinct specified area of the track. There cannot be more than one premises licence covering the same area of the track.
20.57 This enables track owners to extend existing facilities to provide other gambling facilities, such as a casino, on their existing tracks. In such a case, the licensing authority will need to consider access issues as direct access between a track and other betting premises (other than a track betting shop) is not permitted. Access for casino and bingo is dealt with in Parts 17 and 18.
20.58 Where a particular area of a track is already subject to a premises licence, and a person wishes to apply for a licence to offer another type of activity in that area, an application must be made to the issuing licensing authority to vary the original premises licence, under s.187of the Act. The new track premises licence can only be granted at the same time as, or after, the original licence has been varied.
20.59 Licensing authorities may receive applications indicating separate betting areas that may not necessarily have clear physical boundaries, such as walls or fencing. Such areas could still be the subject of a separate betting premises licence provided the area is clearly delineated, both in terms of making it clear to the public that they are entering a ‘betting office’, and to keep out persons aged under 18. Customers should be aware that they are entering separate betting premises subject to its own licence conditions in respect of underage access and alcohol for example. The delineation of such an area is best achieved through a physical barrier. A licensing authority concerned that such an area cannot be satisfactorily delineated may wish to refuse an application for a separate betting premises licence.
20.60 Conditions applicable to off-track betting premises also apply to self-contained betting premises on tracks that are the subject of their own betting premises licence, which entitles the self-contained premises to offer up to four gaming machines (from categories B2 to D).
20.61 Track owners should decide in conjunction with the betting operators offering facilities at their track which premises licensing arrangement best suits the specific nature and circumstances of their track.
20.62 Since September 2012 on-course bookmakers have entered into licences with racecourses regarding the allocation of betting positions. The responsibilities of track premises licence holders are established by the mandatory and default licence conditions attaching to their premises licence. The licensed betting operators authorised by track owners to provide betting facilities at tracks must comply with their operating licence conditions and codes of practice issued by the Commission.
20.63 Under s.33(2)of the Act, only licensed betting operators may accept bets or provide facilities for gambling. The Commission is responsible for issuing betting operating licences, and each betting operator must comply with the conditions of their operating licence. The Commission can invoke penalties or revoke licences if they fail to do so.
20.64 By virtue of s.179 of the Act, a track premises licence may only authorise the acceptance of bets by way of pool betting on horseracing or dog racing, and if the bets are accepted by the holder of the track premises licence or in accordance with arrangements made by him. In practice, though, this only applies to dog racing because of the exclusive licence for the Tote. In all cases a relevant operating licence will be required to license this activity (Betfred’s purchase of Great Leighs means that it holds the operating licence). A totalisator (a system of pool betting) on a licensed greyhound track will only be permitted while the public are admitted to the track for the purpose of attending greyhound races, and no other sporting events are taking place. A mandatory condition is attached to the premises licence to this effect (SI 2007/1409: Gambling Act 2005 (Mandatory and Default Conditions) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007, Schedule 6(3)(1)).
20.65 It is a mandatory premises licence condition of track premises licences that the licence holder makes arrangements to ensure that the betting operators they admit to their track operate under valid operating licences.
20.66 Track premises licence holders, or their appointees, are therefore responsible for identifying and admitting those providing facilities for betting to operate on-course. This means both betting operating licence holders themselves and persons ‘employed by the licensee under a written contract of employment’ (Section 92 of the Act).
20.67 Track premises licence holders are responsible for determining their own arrangements for the verification of betting operators. As part of this process, the track premises licence holder should make arrangements for ensuring that the betting operator holds an operating licence.
20.68 There are special regulatory arrangements in place which mean that not all employees need to be listed on the licence, referred to as Schedule Y arrangements (s Schedule Y operator is an employee whose details have been provided to the Commission as authorised by the licensee to accept bets on their behalf otherwise than under the supervision of a qualified person on the same track). This means that bookmakers’ assistants - such as computer operators and floormen - do not need to appear on the operator’s licence. This light touch regulatory position allows for existing arrangements for supervision.
20.69 In instances where an operator holds more than one betting position at a track they can staff their subsequent positions with non-licensed employees as long as those betting positions are networked to the first pitch and the operator or a Schedule Y representative is in attendance at the track and operating the primary pitch. In this situation the licensee or Schedule Y representative is responsible for all actions carried out by employees on the pitches that he is not physically standing on.
20.70 Licensing authorities should be aware that, as track premises licence holders are required through mandatory licence conditions to make arrangements for identifying and admitting only valid betting operating licence holders to offer betting on-track, different arrangements may be in place at different tracks to achieve this. Licensing authorities are advised to make themselves aware of the processes used by tracks that they license in their localities.
20.71 Track premises licence holders are required by a mandatory licence condition to take reasonable steps to remove from the racecourse anybody found to be providing facilities for gambling without authorisation - in effect illegal bookmakers. This could include someone claiming to be a representative of a licensed betting operator who has been unable to prove their identity to the track premises licensee. Failure to uphold this requirement could result in action being taken against the premises licence holder.
20.72 Track premises licence holders should have policies and procedures for identifying illegal gambling in addition to the mandatory requirement to verify that betting operators offering betting facilities on their track hold suitable operating licences.
20.73 It is a mandatory condition of premises licences that clear and accessible information about the terms on which a bet may be placed must be displayed at betting premises, including tracks. The terms or rules of betting is a consideration of the Commission in respect of the licensing of betting operators.
20.74 There are often multiple locations of betting on a track. For instance, on a large racecourse there may be a number of betting rings and Tote outlets and at least one betting shop, while at a football ground there could be several betting booths located throughout the various stadium concourses.
20.75 It may be considered disproportionate and unnecessary to insist that betting rules are displayed at each distinct betting location; rather, the rules should be made available at suitable central locations. The track premises licence holder should make the necessary arrangements to ensure that betting rules are accessible to all customers, regardless of which area of the track they are in. If certain areas are restricted to certain customers (such as different stands within a football ground) then rules could be displayed at various parts of the track. Other measures could be taken to ensure that they are made available to the public, such as printing them in the race-card or programme. The requirement could also be met by making a copy of the rules available in leaflet form from the main track office, and customers could be given a copy if they request one.
20.76 As track premises licence holders do not necessarily provide betting facilities themselves (unless they hold a pool betting licence), they do not have their own set of betting rules to apply. In such cases, the licence holder should make it clear that the operator’s betting rules will apply. At horserace meetings, for example, betting operators generally abide by Tattersall’s Rules on Betting, and as such the premises licence holder should make this clear to customers. At a sports stadium where betting facilities are provided by a high street operator, the track licence holder may choose to state on the centrally provided notice that the rules followed by the betting operator will apply throughout the track.
20.77 Betting operators offering betting facilities on racecourses and at greyhound tracks are required through the conditions of their operating licence to clearly display any of their own rules that differ from those that the track premises licence holder elects to display, and their rules concerning voids, late bets, and maximum payouts. Track premises licence holders are expected to refer customers to the rules of individual on-course betting operators who are required to display this information on their stands (often referred to as ‘bookmaker joints’).
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