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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


4 - Other matters to be considered

Relevant factors when considering applications and reviews

6.33. The policy statement should set out what factors it is likely to take into account when considering applications for premises licences, permits and other permissions, and when determining whether to review a licence. This may be informed by the licensing authority’s local area profile and will include considerations such as the proximity of gambling premises to schools and vulnerable adult centres, or to residential areas where there may be a high concentration of families with children.

6.34. Although the policy statement should identify the factors to be considered, it should be clear that each application or review will be decided on its merits. Importantly, if an applicant for a premises licence can show how licensing objective concerns can be overcome, the licensing authority will need to take that into account in its decision making.

Statement regarding casino resolution

6.35. The policy statement should include details about how the licensing authority has taken or will take a decision in relation to a casino resolution. A licensing authority may resolve not to issue casino premises licences within its area. If it does so, the resolution must be published in its policy statement (s.166(5) of the Act).

Other regulatory regimes

6.36. The policy statement should include a firm commitment to avoid duplication with other regulatory regimes, so far as possible. For example, a range of general duties are imposed on the self-employed, employers and operators of gambling premises, both in respect of employees and of the general public, by legislation governing health and safety at work and fire safety. Therefore, such requirements do not need to be included in the policy statement.

Demand for gaming premises

6.37. Previous legislation required that the grant of certain gambling permissions should take account of whether there was unfulfilled demand for the facilities. This is no longer the case, and each application must be considered on its merits without regard to demand. The policy statement should reflect the ‘aim to permit’ principle (s.153 of the Act) and should not comment on whether there is demand for gambling premises.

6.38. However, the policy statement may comment on the location of premises and the general principles it will apply in considering the location so far as it relates to the licensing objectives. For example, a policy statement may set out that the licensing authority will carefully consider applications for premises licences and whether there is a need for conditions to mitigate risks, in respect of certain kinds of gambling located very close to a school or a centre for those experiencing or at risk of gambling harm, in light of the third licensing objective. The policy statement must be clear that each case will be decided on its merits and will depend to a large extent on the type of gambling that is proposed for the premises.

Other information

6.39. Licensing authorities may wish to include other information in their policy statement to ensure clarity on their approach to local regulation, particularly the factors that will not be relevant to the exercise of their functions under the Act. This will ensure that applicants or persons who wish to make representations have all the necessary information to be able to do so, including what representations may not be relevant.

6.40. For example, licensing authorities may wish to explain in their policy statements that any objections to new premises or requests for a review should be based on the licensing objectives of the Act. The policy statement could make it clear that – unlike the Licensing Act 2003 (opens in new tab) and the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 (opens in new tab) – the Act does not include the prevention of public nuisance and anti-social behaviour as a specific licensing objective.

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