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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


2 - Responsible authorities

8.2. Responsible authorities are public bodies that must be notified of applications and that are entitled to make representations to the licensing authority in relation to applications for, and in relation to, premises licences.

8.3. S.157 of the Act identifies the bodies that are to be treated as responsible authorities. They are:

  • (a) a licensing authority in England and Wales in whose area the premises is wholly or partly situated
  • (b) the Gambling Commission
  • (c) the chief officer of police or chief constable for the area in which the premises is wholly or partially situated
  • (d) the fire and rescue authority for the same area
  • (e) in England and Wales, the local planning authority; or in Scotland, the planning authority
  • (f) the relevant authority as defined in s.6 of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 (opens in new tab)
  • (g) an authority which has functions in relation to pollution to the environment or harm to human health
  • (h) anybody, designated in writing by the licensing authority, as competent to advise about the protection of children from harm
  • (i) HM Revenue & Customs (opens in new tab)
  • (j) any other person prescribed in regulations by the Secretary of State.

8.4. S.211(4) of the Act provides that in relation to a vessel, but no other premises, responsible authorities also include navigation authorities, within the meaning of s.221(1) of the Water Resources Act 1991 (opens in new tab), that have statutory functions in relation to the waters where the vessel is usually moored or berthed, or any waters where it is proposed to be navigated at a time when it is used for licensable activities. This would include:

8.5. The Act includes a wide range of responsible authorities to ensure that all relevant regulatory bodies and organisations are made aware of applications for gambling premises licences or other permissions. Equally, a policy of wide dissemination of applications allows responsible authorities to take action under their own legislation and enforcement powers, even if there is no direct role for them in the premises licensing process for gambling.

8.6. The Act contains no obligation on responsible authorities to respond to applications for premises licences. For example, the Commission does not routinely make representations on premises licence applications, although this should not be taken as indicating the Commission’s approval of a particular application. Exceptionally, where an application for a premises licence or the operation of a current premises licence raises matters of wider or national significance, the Commission will consider making representations or requesting a review. The Commission may also comment on an application if it has particular observations about an operator.

8.7. Licensing authorities are required to set out their approach to their functions under the Act in their policy statement. One of those functions is to determine who will be competent to advise them about the protection of children from harm and the principles for determining this must be set out in a separate section in their policy statement. Licensing authorities should engage fully with the relevant designated body and consult with them on the development of the policy statement. Further detail can be found in Part 6 of this guidance at paragraph 6.15 onwards.

8.8. The Secretary of State and Scottish Ministers may prescribe other responsible authorities by means of regulations.

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