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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


1 - Introduction

11.1. S.204 of the Act provides for a person to make an application to the licensing authority for a provisional statement in respect of premises that he or she:

  • expects to be constructed
  • expects to be altered
  • expects to acquire a right to occupy.

11.2. Developers may wish to apply for provisional statements before they enter into a contract to buy or lease property or land, to judge whether a development is worth taking forward in light of the need to obtain a premises licence. It is also possible for an application for a provisional statement to be made for premises that already have a premises licence, either for a different type of gambling or the same type.

11.3. Whilst applicants for premises licences must hold or have applied for an operating licence from the Commission (except in the case of a track), and they must have the right to occupy the premises in respect of which their premises licence application is made, these restrictions do not apply in relation to an application for a provisional statement.

11.4. In circumstances where an applicant has also applied to the Commission for an operating licence, the Commission will not be able to comment on whether the application is likely to be granted. The licensing authority should not speculate on or otherwise take into account the likelihood of an operating licence being granted in its consideration of the application for a provisional statement.

11.5. An application for a provisional statement must be accompanied by plans and the prescribed fee. Licensing authorities in England and Wales set their own provisional statement fees up to a pre-determined maximum, whereas licensing authorities in Scotland must use the provisional statement fees set by Scottish Ministers (SI No. 479: The Gambling (Premises Licence Fees) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 SSI No. 197: The Gambling (Premises Licence Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2007).

11.6. Subject to any necessary modifications, the process for considering an application for a provisional statement is the same as that for a premises licence application. The applicant is obliged to give notice of the application in the same way as applying for a premises licence. Responsible authorities and interested parties may make representations and there are rights of appeal.

11.7. Once the premises are constructed, altered, or acquired the holder of a provisional statement can put in an application for the necessary premises licence. A premises licence application for a premises where the applicant already holds a provisional statement for that premises attracts a lower application fee. S.205 of the Act sets out rules on how the authority must treat this application. Licensing authorities should note that, in the absence of a requirement that an applicant for a provisional licence must have the right to occupy the premises, there may be more than one valid provisional statement in respect of the same premises.

11.8. If a provisional statement has been granted, the licensing authority is constrained in the matters it can consider when an application for a premises licence is made subsequently in relation to the same premises.

11.9. No further representations from relevant authorities or interested parties can be taken into account unless they concern matters which could not have been addressed at the provisional statement stage, or they reflect a change in the applicant’s circumstances.

11.10. In addition, the licensing authority may refuse the premises licence, or grant it on terms different to those attached to the provisional statement, only by reference to matters:

  • which could not have been raised by way of representations at the provisional licence stage
  • which, in the authority’s opinion, reflect a change in the operator’s circumstances
  • where the premises has not been constructed in accordance with the plan and information submitted with the provisional statement application. This must be a substantial change to the plan and licensing authorities should discuss any concerns they have with the applicant before making a decision.

11.11. S.210 of the Act, which applies to both premises licences and provisional statements, makes it clear that a licensing authority must not have regard to whether or not a proposal by the applicant is likely to be permitted in accordance with planning or building law.

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