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Guidance

Guidance to licensing authorities

Our guidance for licensing authorities.

Contents


2 - Partnership working between the Commission and licensing authorities – shared regulation

1.4 The Commission works in partnership with licensing authorities to regulate gambling. In doing so, the Commission will tend to focus on operators and issues of national or regional significance, and licensing authorities will take the lead on regulating gambling locally. The Commission and licensing authorities may work directly together on particular issues, for example where it may establish a precedent or help build capacity and learning to be rolled out more widely.

1.5 The Commission draws on, and shares, the intelligence and insights of its regulatory partners, in particular licensing authorities, who may well be better positioned to identify emerging risks to the licensing objectives or instances of illegality which can start at a local level. By working closely together we are able to prevent such risks growing into a more widespread problem and to ensure that both the Commission and licensing authority resources are used efficiently.

1.6 In the Commission’s view, the statutory duty to aim to permit gambling, subject to reasonable consistency with the licensing objectives, is best delivered through partnership working between industry and regulator, including licensing authorities. Licensing authorities should aim to work with local businesses to reduce the risk to the licensing objectives to acceptable levels. The Act does not envisage regulation by either the Commission or licensing authorities being aimed at preventing legitimate gambling.

1.7 Further, the Commission was not established, and is not resourced, to lead on local gambling regulation. Licensing authorities have the power to collect fees, subject to statutory maxima, to cover the costs of local gambling regulation. In addition, local regulation is more cost effective and licensing authorities are better placed to understand and manage local issues. So, while the Commission aims to adopt a position of support and assistance for licensing authorities in carrying out their functions, that is in the context of licensing authorities taking the lead on local regulation of gambling.

1.8 This is reflected in the Commission’s approach to representations on premises licence applications. Neither licensing authorities nor operators should take the absence of a specific representation on particular application as indicating the Commission’s approval of that application. However, 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 licence review. The Commission may also comment on an application if it has particular observations about an operator. The Commission will aim to work with the relevant licensing authority in formulating any representation it wishes to make.

1.9 In many instances, effective outcomes will depend on close co-operation and communication between the Commission and licensing authorities. Ultimately, however, the responsibility for every licensing decision rests with the licensing authority itself, in line with the principle of local accountability.

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Introduction
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Co-ordination and contact
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