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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


6 - Betting premises licence conditions

19.12. Part 9 of this guidance discusses the mandatory and default conditions that attach to premises licences.

Mandatory conditions

19.13. A notice shall be displayed at all entrances to the betting premises stating that no person under the age of 18 will be admitted. The notice should be clearly visible to people entering the premises.

19.14. There must be no access to betting premises from other premises that undertake a commercial activity (except from other premises with a betting premises licence including tracks). Except where it is from other licensed betting premises, the entrance to a betting shop should be from a street (defined as including any bridge, road, lane, footway, subway, square, court, alley or passage - including passages through enclosed premises such as shopping centres - whether a thoroughfare or not).

19.15. Any ATM made available for use on the premises shall be located in a place that requires any customer who wishes to use it to leave any gaming machine or self-service betting terminal (SSBT) in order to do so.

19.16. No apparatus for making information or any other material available in the form of sounds or visual images may be used on the licensed premises, except where used to communicate:

  • information about or coverage of sporting events, including information relating to betting on such events (and incidental information including advertisements)
  • information relating to betting (including results) on any event in connection with which bets may have been affected on the premises.

Betting operator-owned TV channels are permitted.

19.17. No music, dancing or other entertainment is permitted on betting premises. This includes any form of entertainment such as apparatus producing sound or visual images which do not fall within paragraph 19.15 or machines which do not come within the categories of machine explicitly allowed in betting premises under s.172(8) of the Act.

19.18. The consumption of alcohol on the premises is prohibited during any time which facilities for gambling are being provided on the premises. Additionally in Scotland the sale of alcohol on the premises is also specifically prohibited.

19.19. The only publications that may be sold or made available on the premises are racing periodicals or specialist betting publications.

19.20. A notice setting out the terms on which a bet may be placed must be displayed in a prominent position on the premises. In Scotland this notice must be displayed at every entrance.

Default conditions

19.21. Gambling facilities may not be offered in betting premises between the hours of 10pm on one day and 7am on the next day, on any day.

Controlling where gaming machines may be played - betting

19.22. 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.

19.23. 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.

19.24. 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 betting premises operator offers substantive facilities for non-remote betting 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.

19.25. 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 for betting 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 betting.

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

19.27. 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.

19.28. 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.

19.29. 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 in 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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Self-service betting terminals (SSBTs)
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