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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


5 - Applications

7.40. A summary of the application forms and statutory notices is provided at Appendix E.

7.41. An application for a premises licence may only be made by persons (which includes companies or partnerships):

  • who are aged 18 or over and
  • who have the right to occupy the premises and
  • who have an operating licence which allows them to carry out the proposed activity. Details of operators that hold an operating licence are available on the Commission’s website or
  • who have applied for an operating licence to allow them to carry out the proposed activity. The premises licence cannot be determined until an operating licence has been issued.

7.42. The exception to this is an applicant for a premises licence to allow a track to be used for betting, as these applicants are not required to hold an operating licence if they are merely providing space for other people to provide betting (and those other people hold valid betting operating licences). However, if a track owner is also acting as a betting operator, for example, running pool betting, they will have to have the relevant type of operating licence.

7.43. An application must be made to the relevant licensing authority in the form prescribed in regulations laid down by the Secretary of State or Scottish Ministers, and must be accompanied by:

  • the prescribed fee
  • the prescribed documents, namely a plan of the premises – the plan needs to be to scale, however, a specific scale has not been prescribed.

Plans of premises

7.44. The licensing of premises is primarily a matter for local determination and is something which the Commission is unlikely to comment on, unless it raises matters of wider or national significance. However, there have been a limited number of occasions in which an operator has applied for a variation to a premises licence in which the accompanying plan of the premises has only contained an outline of the licensed premises and the exit points without, for example, the location of the gaming machines and counter. We therefore consider it beneficial, for both licensing authorities and operators, for us to set out the issues involved and our understanding of the options available.

7.45. The Gambling Act 2005 (Premises Licences and Provisional Statements) Regulation 2007 (opens in new tab) (as amended) states that a plan must show:

  • the extent of the boundary or perimeter of the premises
  • where the premises include, or consist of, one or more buildings, the location of any external or internal walls of each such building
  • where the premises form part of a building, the location of any external or internal walls of the building which are included in the premises
  • where the premises are a vessel or a part of a vessel, the location of any part of the sides of the vessel, and of any internal walls of the vessel, which are included in the premises
  • the location of each point of entry to and exit from the premises, including in each case a description of the place from which entry is made or to which the exit leads.

7.46. The Regulation states (other than in respect of a track) ‘...the plan must show the location and extent of any part of the premises which will be used to provide facilities for gambling in reliance on the licence’. However, licensing authorities may consider that this minimum requirement is not sufficient to satisfy them when determining if the application is in accordance with s.153 principles, namely the licensing objectives, this guidance and the Commission's codes of practice – in particular the social responsibility codes – and the licensing authorities’ own policy statement. If the application and accompanying plan are insufficient, the licensing authority should ask for more information from the applicant.

7.47. The premises plan itself is only one means by which the licensing authority may seek reassurance that the requirements will be met. It may be that conditions attached to the premises licence regarding lines of sight between the counter and the gaming machines, staffing arrangements or security devices are a more effective method of doing so. Local circumstances and concerns, and the layout of a particular premises, will determine what is most appropriate for an individual application.

Notice of application

7.48. The Secretary of State and Scottish Ministers have made regulations (SI 2007/459: The Gambling Act 2005 (Premises Licences and Provisional Statements) Regulations 2007 and SSI 2007/196 for Scotland) requiring the applicant to publish notice of their application and to notify responsible authorities and other persons about the application. These also apply, with one or two modifications, in relation to applications for provisional statements and some ancillary applications that can be made in relation to a premises licence.

7.49. Notice must be given in three ways:

  • a notice placed outside the premises for 28 consecutive days in a place where it can be read conveniently
  • in a newspaper or newsletter of local relevance, on at least one occasion within ten days of the application being made
  • to all responsible authorities, which includes the Commission, within seven days of the application being made.

7.50. A licence application, and any licence subsequently issued, is not valid if the relevant notifications have not been made.

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Multiple activity premises – layout and access
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Application for premises variation (s.187): ‘material change’
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