Guidance to licensing authorities
- Changes to the Guidance for Licensing Authorities
- Part 1: General guidance on the role and responsibilities of licensing authorities in gambling regulation
- Part 2: The licensing framework
- Part 3: The Gambling Commission
- Part 4: Licensing authorities
- Part 5: Principles to be applied by licensing authorities
- Part 6: Licensing authority policy statement
- Part 7: Premises licences
- Part 8: Responsible authorities and interested parties definitions
- Part 9: Premises licence conditions
- Part 10: Review of premises licence by licensing authority
- Part 11: Provisional statements
- Part 12: Rights of appeal and judicial review
- Part 13: Information exchange
- Part 14: Temporary use notices
- Part 15: Occasional use notices
- Part 16: Gaming machines
- Part 17: Casinos
- Part 18: Bingo
- Part 19: Betting premises
- Part 20: Tracks
- Part 21: Adult gaming centres
- Part 22: Licensed family entertainment centres
- Part 23: Introduction to permits
- Part 24: Unlicensed family entertainment centres
- Part 25: Clubs
- Part 26: Premises licensed to sell alcohol
- Part 27: Prize gaming and prize gaming permits
- Part 28: Non-commercial and private gaming, betting and lotteries
- Part 29: Poker
- Part 30: Travelling fairs
- Part 31: Crown immunity and excluded premises
- Part 32: Territorial application of the Gambling Act 2005
- Part 33: Door supervision
- Part 34: Small society lotteries
- Part 35: Chain gift schemes
- Part 36: Compliance and enforcement matters
- Appendix A: Summary of machine provisions by premises
- Appendix B: Summary of gaming machine categories and entitlements
- Appendix C: Summary of gaming entitlements for clubs and alcohol-licensed premises
- Appendix D: Summary of offences under the Gambling Act 2005
- Appendix E: Summary of statutory application forms and notices
- Appendix F: Inspection powers
- Appendix G: Licensing authority delegations
- Appendix H: Poker games and prizes
- Appendix I: Glossary of terms
6 - Test purchasing and age verification
36.27 Test purchasing is one method by which the Commission or licensing authorities may, in England and Wales, measure the compliance of licensed operators or groups of licensed operators, with aspects of the Act subject to Primary Authority (PA) arrangements, detailed in paragraph 36.36 below. Test purchasing in Scotland is the subject of an Enforcement Protocol with offences prosecuted by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (opens in new tab).
36.28 Licensing authorities are familiar with the methodology in relation to the sale of age restricted products and are aware of the importance of following current guidance in this area, in order to ensure that tests are carried out in a manner that is risk-based and fair, with due regard to the welfare of young people involved in the test purchasing.
36.29 As noted above, in the first instance it is up to operators to ensure they are compliant with the Act and the associated regulations. The Commission’s approach in relation to test purchasing in general and age verification in particular is set out in our Advice note on test purchasing in England and Wales (opens in new tab) (this advice note does not form part of the Guidance to licensing authorities).This approach is in line with the responsibilities set out for regulators and enforcers in the Code of Practice: age restricted products and services published by the Better Regulation Delivery Office30 (opens in new tab) (Age Restricted Products and Services: A Code of Practice for Regulatory Delivery), which applies to England and Wales.
36.30 The Commission encourages operators to manage the business risk associated with both underage access to premises and permitting a young person to gamble. Where an operator is required to commission a third party to test the effectiveness of their policies and procedures or put its own testing in place as required by the Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) and where the results of the tests are shared with us, we are less inclined to conduct our own test purchasing.
36.31 Local authorities, whether acting as a licensing authority or through another function such as trading standards, should consult with operators in the first instance where they have concerns about the underage access and age verification policies or whose premises they plan to test purchase. This will enable them to identify what programmes are in place to manage the business risk and take these into account in planning a test purchase exercise.
36.32 Local authorities should also consult with the Commission before planning such exercises in order to ensure that there is no conflict between any ongoing investigation or enforcement activity related to either the premises or the operator that we have initiated and the test purchase operation. Local authorities in England and Wales are also subject to PA arrangements.
36.33 Local authorities undertaking their own test purchase operations are requested to share any test purchasing results with the Commission.
36.34 However, local authorities will have in place democratically determined priorities and resource allocations as well as the ability to respond to complaints and intelligence related to specific premises. As a result, irrespective of the actions of an operator on their overall estate, test purchasing may be deemed to be an appropriate course of action.
30 Replaced by the Office for Product Safety and Standards
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Last updated: 9 April 2021
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