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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


7 - Primary Authority

36.35. The Primary Authority (PA) scheme, previously administered by the Better Regulation Delivery Office (opens in new tab) (BRDO), now the Office for Product Safety and Standards (opens in new tab), provides for a statutory partnership to be formed between a business and a single authority, for example, a local authority. That single authority, the PA, can provide a national inspection strategy within which other local regulators can operate (Primary Authority statutory guidance), to improve the effectiveness of visits by local regulators and enable better sharing of information between them. The PA scheme therefore aims to ensure that local regulation is consistent at the national level.

36.36. Since October 2013, the PA has been extended to include age-restricted sales of gambling in England and Wales (it currently does not apply in Scotland). It does not apply to any other aspect of the Act. This means local authorities in England and Wales must follow any age restricted sales of gambling national inspection plans and strategies that are published on the PA register when considering proactive age restricted sales (gambling) activity including testing. PA plans do not prohibit licensing authorities undertaking reactive test purchasing. PA does not apply to the police or the Commission.

36.37. The Commission fully supports the development of PA schemes between gambling operators and local authorities and has already worked closely with PAs in the development of their national inspection strategies for some larger non-remote licensed operators with whom they have entered into partnerships. The inspection plans are designed to be largely uniform and to bring consistency to proactive test purchasing in those betting shops.

36.38. The PA scheme, does not, of course, transfer responsibility for the regulation of age restricted sales of gambling to PAs. The PA inspection plans have the potential to help gambling businesses achieve high standards while also providing for more efficient and consistent regulation. These arrangements underpin the primary objectives of the Act in relation to protecting children from gambling-related harm and preventing them from accessing gambling facilities. The regulatory frameworks for gambling and for PA are therefore complementary.

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