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Guidance

Guidance to licensing authorities

Our guidance for licensing authorities.

Contents


10 - Default conditions attaching to all casino premises licences

17.54 The default opening hours of all casinos are noon to 6am.

Controlling where gaming machines may be played - casino

17.55 The following policy objectives summarise the key elements that underpin the approach to controlling where gaming machines may be played.

  • with very few low risk exceptions, non-remote gambling should be confined to dedicated gambling premises
  • the distinctions between different types of licensed gambling premises are maintained
  • gambling activities are supervised appropriately
  • within casino, bingo and betting premises, gaming machines are only made available in combination with the named non-remote activity of the operating licence.

17.56 The Act and associated regulations set out a comprehensive regulatory framework for controlling gaming machines. By linking different machine entitlements to different types of premises, the framework seeks to ensure the number and power (in terms of stakes, prizes and speed of play) of machines is proportionate to the premises. For such a framework to have any meaningful effect it must be possible for regulatory authorities and consumers to distinguish between different gambling premises.

17.57 The LCCP requires (Social Responsibility Code Provision 9) that gaming machines are only made available in combination with the named non-remote activity of the operating licence. So, unless a casino premises operator offers substantive facilities for non-remote casino games and/or games of equal chance it should not make gaming machines available for use on the premises in question. To contain the unavoidable risk to the licensing objectives associated with gaming machines, premises which offer machines must be appropriately supervised.

17.58 The current regulatory framework prescribes that Category B gaming machines may only be made available in licensed gambling premises and not in locations which may prompt more ambient gambling such as pubs. Maintaining distinctions between different gambling venues allows individuals to make a deliberate choice whether to enter that particular gambling environment. In carrying out their functions under the Act licensing authorities should satisfy themselves that a premises applying for or licensed as a casino is operating or will operate in a manner which a customer would reasonably be expected to recognise as a premises licensed for the purposes of providing facilities for casino games and/or games of equal chance.

17.59 Licensing authorities are not being asked to impose a ‘one size fits all’ view of how a casino should look and function. Rather they are ensuring that a premises licensed for the purposes of providing facilities for casino and/or games of equal chance is operating as such and is not merely a vehicle to offer higher stake and prize gaming machines.

17.60 In exercising its functions under the Act a licensing authority should take account of the relevant code of practice on ‘controlling where gaming machines may be played’. It is specifically obliged to do so when exercising functions under section 153 of the Act. In circumstances where a licensing authority considers an existing premises is not compliant with these general requirements they should contact the Commission at the earliest opportunity.

17.61 Both the Commission and licensing authorities have the power to attach specific conditions to operating or premises licences in circumstances where additional assurance is required. The Commission favours the approach of general conditions for all supplemented by operator specific conditions in cases where novel or contentious operating models are used which include the provision of gaming machines. This is to deliver the policy objectives above and ensure the risk to the licensing objectives is minimised.

17.62 In the Commission’s view the above approach would ideally be adopted at licensing stage. Licensing authorities should ensure that they request all the information required from an applicant for a new premises or for a variation to an existing premises in order to satisfy themselves as to the matters set out at s153 of the Act. This includes the codes of practice and this guidance. The approach of adding case-specific conditions can equally be deployed in respect of an existing unit where concerns arise or when changes are made to the operating model.

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Mandatory conditions – converted casino premises licences
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Self-exclusion
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