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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


2 - Information licensing authorities provide to the Commission

13.3. S.29 of the Act entitles the Commission to seek information from licensing authorities, and places an obligation on authorities to comply with its information requests, providing the information is:

  • part of a register maintained by the licensing authority
  • in the licensing authority’s possession in connection with a provision of the Act.

Premises data

13.4. The Act requires licensing authorities to maintain data on premises licences. As part of the application process for a premises licence, applicants will forward notice of the application to the Commission, and licensing authorities should subsequently notify the Commission of the outcome of each application, whether it is granted or refused. The Act also requires licensing authorities to notify the Commission of other matters such as when a licence has lapsed or been surrendered, and the cancellation of certain permits and registrations. Under s.29 of the Act, the Commission has identified further information requirements that it is necessary for licensing authorities to provide, which form part of the licensing authority return.

13.5. It is important that the Commission’s national data set for premises licences is accurate, as it is used for conducting national compliance work. Accuracy also reduces the need for the Commission to request ad hoc information on particular premises from licensing authorities, which is time consuming and resource intensive. The Commission will ask licensing authorities to periodically review the premises register to ensure it is up-to-date.

13.6. The Commission may make observations and representations on the suitability of the applicant for a premises licence or any other aspect of the application. In such cases, the Commission and licensing authority will discuss matters pertaining to the application and the appropriate action to take. More information on the Commission’s role as a responsible authority and its involvement in individual premises licence applications is given in Part 8 of this guidance.

13.7. If, during the course of considering a premises licence application, or at any other time, the licensing authority receives information that causes it to question the suitability of the applicant to hold an operating licence, these concerns should be brought to the attention of the Commission without delay.


13.8. All licensing authorities are required to submit returns to the Commission on an annual basis, providing information on licensed gambling activity and details of compliance and regulatory work undertaken. This includes details of permits and notices issued, premises inspections conducted, and reasons for and outcome of licence reviews. The fees that are charged by licensing authorities are intended to cover the costs of administration which includes the costs of collecting, maintaining and providing data.

13.9. The annual return is included in the Single Data List that has been issued by the UK Government. The List is a catalogue of all the data sets that local government must submit in any given year to central government and such organisations as the Commission.

13.10. The returns are an important source of information and can assist both the Commission and licensing authorities in improving their work as risk-based regulators. The returns provide the Commission with details of licensing authority compliance and regulatory work. The Commission analyses and publishes a licensing authority statistics report (opens in new tab) each year which helps identify risks and prioritise work.

13.11. The Commission will minimise the burden imposed on licensing authorities by keeping its data requests to an absolute minimum. The data requirements will be kept under review to ensure that any data requests have a clear and valid regulatory purpose.

13.12. It is essential that licensing authorities ensure that all returns are completed and submitted to the Commission in a timely manner. The Commission would expect the licensing authority to notify it in the event that it is unable to meet a submission deadline. Failure on behalf of a licensing authority to submit the required information could lead to the escalation of the matter with senior personnel in the licensing authority including the Head of Service and Chief Executive.

Summary of information requirements

Licensing functionEvent requiring information to be sent to Commission
Premises licences and provisional statements
  • Licensing authority has granted / rejected an application for a premises licence or provisional statement
  • A premises licence has lapsed
  • Licensing authority has granted or rejected an application to reinstate a premises licence
  • Licensing authority has granted or rejected an application to transfer or vary a premises licence
  • A review of a premises licence has been completed and a decision made
  • A hearing is to be held where the Commission has made a representation
  • A premises licence has been surrendered / revoked
Club permitsA club permit application has been granted / rejected
Small society lottery registration
  • Licensing authority registers a society to operate small lotteries
  • Licensing authority cancels a society's registration to operate small lotteries
  • Where a society has exceeded the permitted proceeds for small lotteries
Issue of permits and temporary permissionsLicensing authority returns
Inspections and reviewsLicensing authority returns
Previous section
Underlying principles
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Other licensing authority information requirements
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