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News, advice and guidance updates

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Machines alert

The following machines were found by local Environment Health Officers during a visit to premises. 

illegal machine 1

illegal machine 2

The Commission understands these machines to be of Portuguese origin and has concerns as to both their supply and siting. They are approx. 8 inches to 1 foot high and can be affixed to a wall or on a flat surface. They can be played by inserting a coin, usually a £1 coin, and winnings can be claimed at the counter of the premises where installed. We would be grateful if you could alert your colleagues – such as EHOs and local police regarding this matter and inform us via  complianceteamCB@gamblingcommission.gov.uk with any information or should you require assistance.   

LA Returns

You have until 31 March to submit your returns for the period April 2019 – March 2020. The Commission plans to publish the data received (in an Excel format) in late April. LAs are requested to check such things as their spam folders as, where we have discovered anomalies in the data supplied and attempted to contact you, the mail address we hold no longer appears to be valid. Should you have any queries please email LAReturns@gamblingcommission.gov.uk

Large and small society lottery licences

The Commission has received several queries recently on the topic. We thought it useful to remind you that a society cannot hold both large and small society lottery licences.  Branches with separate objectives (and separate funding) can apply for a separate registration or licence. There is specific advice on this in section 34 of the GLA

34.34 In cases where a society has separate branches with different aims and objectives, it is acceptable for them to hold more than one licence or registration. However, in cases where a society holds more than one registration and the aims and objectives of those societies are the same, this may constitute a breach of the threshold limits for small society lotteries set out in Schedule 11 of the Act.

34.35 Licensing authorities are advised to carefully consider any application by a society for more than one registration. If the aims and objectives are the same and therefore the threshold limits for small society lotteries are likely to be exceeded, the applicant should be advised to apply to the Commission for a society lottery operating licence.

34.36 By virtue of Schedule 11 paragraph 31(5), societies may not hold an operating licence and a local authority registration with the same aims and objectives at the same time. This paragraph also provides for a statutory period of three years during which a large society cannot convert to small society status. Licensing authorities should check that applicants for registration do not hold (and have not held in the preceding three years) a society lottery operating licence granted by the Commission.

Furthermore a society established just to run raffles on the charity’s behalf also isn’t likely to be compliant with s19 of the Gambling Act unless it’s constitution states that the society’s purpose is non-commercial, for charitable, sport, culture or  any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain.

Non-commercial prize gaming and Non-commercial equal chance gaming – can they be offered by remote means?

Following our article about small society lotteries and remote play in the last edition of the Bulletin we have received a number of enquiries about non commercial prize and equal chance gaming. Our understanding of the situation is set out below and in the Advice on non-commercial and private gaming and betting note.  

Non-commercial prize gaming

Section 299 of the Act defines prize gaming as if neither the nature nor size of a prize is determined by the number of people playing or the amount paid for or raised by the gaming. The prizes will be determined by the operator before play commences. This is distinct from normal commercial gaming where the stakes and participation fees paid by the players go to make up the available winnings.

Section 299(5) states; The fourth condition is that the gaming is not remote.   

In other words, the authorisation can only apply to gaming which takes place at events, on premises, and for gaming in person. 

Non-commercial equal chance gaming

Equal chance gaming is gaming where the chances are equally favourable to all participants and players are not competing against a bank (section 8 of the Act)

The conditions are further set out in section 300(7) of the Act; The fifth condition is that the gaming is non-remote.

Participants required for our User Research Programme

We carry out regular research sessions to find out how people use existing digital services and the website provided by the Gambling Commission, and what they need from these. This helps us to create services and a website that work better for all our users. 

Finding out what works and what needs to be improved is incredibly important to us, so we require people to try out new digital offerings and provide us with feedback.

As such, we are now seeking participants to register for our User Research Programme. Once registered, we will use your details to contact you about specific user research sessions that we feel you may want to be involved in. 

Getting involved in our ongoing User Research Programme may include:

  • Responding to questionnaires (approx. 5 - 10 minutes)
  • Telephone session (approx. 45 minutes)
  • Face-to-face session (approx. 45 - 60 minutes)
  • Commission workshop (approx. half a day)

Join the programme

You can register to join the user research programme online. We’ll ask you 9 short questions that should take about 2 minutes to complete.

Compliance support

We have revised the communication process for LAs requesting help and support for gambling related issues.

The previous practice of contacting your designated Compliance Managers directly has ceased.  As from 1 October 2020, all gambling related requests for help and support must be emailed to the Gambling Commission Compliance Mailbox: complianceteamCB@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.  

Your requests will be forwarded to designated compliance staff who will respond and deal with your enquiry in a timely manner. 

Occasional Use Notices

Whilst current lockdown restrictions are in place this is unlikely to be a problem, however we thought it worthwhile reminding you that the misuse of OUNs can be an issue.

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 and the Aintree Grand National meeting 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 complianceteamCB@gamblingcommission.gov.uk 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 four notices for four consecutive days of betting and not one notice covering the four days. 

More information about OUNs is available on our website. 

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