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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


3 - Interested parties

8.9. S.158 of the Act defines interested parties. To accept a representation from an interested party, the licensing authority must take the view that the person:

  • lives sufficiently close to the premises to be likely to be affected by the authorised activities
  • has business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities
  • represents persons in either of these two groups. Licensing authorities will need to have regard to anything an interested party says about their status to make representations.

8.10. The approach taken by licensing authorities in determining who is an interested party should be dealt with in their policy statement. As with responsible authorities, regulations require this information to be in a separate section of the policy statement, as outlined in Part 6 of this guidance at paragraph 6.18 onwards.

8.11. The following gives further advice on how licensing authorities can determine whether someone is an interested party.

People living close to the premises

8.12. There are a number of factors that licensing authorities should take into account when determining whether a person ‘lives sufficiently close to the premises’. These might include:

  • the size of the premises
  • the nature of the premises
  • the distance of the premises from the location of the person making the representation
  • the potential impact of the premises such as the number of customers, routes likely to be taken by those visiting the establishment
  • the circumstances of the person who lives close to the premises. This is not their personal characteristics, but their interests which may be relevant to the distance from the premises.

8.13. Relevant factors will depend on the particular application. For example, it is reasonable for a licensing authority to consider that living sufficiently close to premises to likely be affected could have a different meaning for (a) a private resident, (b) a residential school for children with truanting problems and (c) a residential hostel for vulnerable adults.

The nature and scope of business interests that could be affected

8.14. It could be argued that any gambling business could be affected by another gambling business expanding into any part of Great Britain. But that is unlikely to be enough to satisfy the test of being ‘a person with business interests that might be affected by the premises’ under consideration. For example, an operator in a particular sector be it casino, bingo or betting, should not be able to lodge representations on every application put in by a rival operator anywhere in the country, simply because they are in competition within the same gambling sector. Specifically, licensing authorities are reminded that the ‘demand test’ from previous gambling legislation does not apply under the Act.

8.15. The licensing authority should be satisfied that the relevant business is likely to be affected. Factors that are likely to be relevant include:

  • the size of the premises
  • the ‘catchment’ area of the premises, that is, how far people travel to visit the premises
  • whether the person making the representation has business interests in that catchment area that might be affected.

People representing those in the above categories

8.16. Interested parties can be people who are democratically elected such as councillors, MSPs, MSs and MPs, as persons representing individuals in the other categories. This would include county, parish and town councillors. Other representatives might include bodies such as trade associations and trade unions, and residents’ and tenants’ associations. A school head or governor might act in representing the interests of pupils or parents and a community group might represent vulnerable people living near to the proposed premises.

8.17. Save for democratically elected persons, licensing authorities should satisfy themselves on a case by case basis that a person does represent interested parties and request written evidence where necessary. A letter from the interested person(s) they are representing would be sufficient.

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Responsible authorities
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