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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


2 - Track premises licences – differences from other premises licences

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:

  • private dinners and parties
  • weddings
  • retail events (auctions, car boot sales etc)
  • concerts
  • conferences
  • exhibitions.

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.

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Definition of a track
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Betting on tracks
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