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Guidance to licensing authorities

Our guidance for licensing authorities.


3 - Betting on tracks

20.16 There are various types of betting which take place in relation to tracks.

On-course betting

20.17 The on-course betting operator is one who comes onto the track, temporarily, while races or sporting events are taking place. On-course betting operators tend to offer betting only on the events taking place on the track, that day. For example, betting operators attending horserace and greyhound racing meetings will only attend on race days. Similarly, betting operators at cricket and football grounds are only likely to attend on days when matches are taking place.

20.18 Betting on tracks is organised in different ways and can take place in different parts of the track in many different forms. These include the following:

  • ‘Betting rings’ The ring can be dispersed throughout the track, and can include ‘temporary’ rings at large meetings, but all different locations form part of the betting area. On-course betting operators will be located in the betting ring according to a position (pitch) allocated to them under the commercial arrangement they have with the track owner.

  • Betting counters or kiosks A betting counter or booth may be a permanent or temporary outlet from which a bookmaker provides betting facilities. Examples include manned stands or porta-cabins located at football grounds on match days, and the temporary kiosks used by bookmakers at cricket grounds during test matches.

  • Mobile betting Mobile betting machines (often handheld) operated by employees of betting operators allow customers to place a bet or receive payouts away from betting kiosks or the betting ring, most commonly in hospitality areas.

  • Self-service betting terminals (SBBTs) SSBT, described in paragraph 19.6, lack the direct human intervention of a betting counter staffed by a cashier, and can be located at different parts of tracks. See below more details on SSBTs at tracks.

  • Pool betting This involves the pooling of stakes on a given event, and the splitting of the total pool, less a commission for the operator amongst the winners. Pool betting at horseracing and greyhound tracks can be offered under a pool betting operating licence – be that the owner of the track or a third party provider. Tracks may also conduct inter-track pool betting when other tracks are holding races.

Off-course betting

20.19 Off-course betting operators are typically those who provide betting facilities from betting premises such as those found on the high street. In addition to such premises, betting operators may operate self-contained betting premises or designated areas such as a row of betting kiosks within the track premises. These premises provide facilities for off-course betting (in effect, the opportunity to bet on other events not just those taking place on the track), although they normally operate only on race days.

20.20 The provision of off-course betting facilities as described above is generally conducted in reliance on the track premises licence held by the occupier of the track and consequently the off-course operator is prohibited from making any gaming machines available for use unless they hold a separate betting premises licence in relation to part of the track. The track premises licence holder will need to vary their existing premises licence so that it does not have effect in relation to the area where the additional betting premises licence is located. The additional betting premises licence would need to be secured by the holder of an appropriate betting operating licence. Such a premises would then be subject to the conditions outlined in Part 19.

20.21 Licensing authorities are advised to familiarise themselves with the different types of licences that may be available on tracks.

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Track premises licences – differences from other premises licences
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Licences and other permissions for the provision of betting facilities
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