Statement of principles for licensing and regulation
1 - Introduction
The purpose of this statement of principles for licensing and regulation
1.1. This statement sets out the principles that the Gambling Commission (the Commission) will apply in exercising its functions under the Gambling Act 2005 (the Act) (opens in new tab), as amended by the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 (opens in new tab). It also explains how these principles are expected to assist the Commission in its pursuit of the licensing objectives in the Act.
1.2. This statement does not apply to the exercise of the Commission’s functions in relation to the National Lottery1. Read about how the Commission regulates the National Lottery.
The licensing objectives
1.3. The licensing objectives are set out in the Act and are:
- preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
- ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
- protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling2.
The duty to pursue the licensing objectives and permit gambling
1.4. In exercising its functions under the Act the Commission is under a duty to pursue and wherever appropriate to have regard to the licensing objectives, and permit gambling in so far as the Commission thinks it reasonably consistent with pursuit of the licensing objectives3.
Statutory requirements and better regulation principles
1.5. This statement has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of sections: 23, 70, 73, 111, 112, 116 and 128 of the Act.
1.6. In drawing up this statement, the Commission has also had regard to the:
- Regulators’ Code (opens in new tab)4
- report of the Hampton Review5
- report of the Macrory Review6
- Cabinet Office Consultation Principles7
- Scottish Improving Regulation Report8
- reports of the Regulatory Review Group in Scotland9
- Hampton Implementation Review Report into the Gambling Commission10
- Overcoming cultural barriers to information sharing within regulatory services11.
1.7. This statement will be reviewed by the Commission from time to time and revised when appropriate. Before revising the statement, the Commission will consult on its proposed changes in accordance with section 23(5) of the Act (opens in a new tab).
The Commission’s jurisdiction
1.8. The Commission’s jurisdiction under the Act covers Great Britain: England, Scotland and Wales12. However, the Commission’s jurisdiction is broader where remote gambling is concerned and will also cover those supplying gambling from remote gambling equipment situated in Great Britain to those outside of Great Britain, as well as remote operators contracting with consumers in Great Britain. The Commission will maintain appropriate working relationships with each administration and will take account of the differences between them.
The Commission’s statutory functions under the Act
1.9. The Commission’s functions in relation to licensing and regulation under the Act can broadly be categorised as those of licensing, compliance, regulatory enforcement, and criminal enforcement.
1.10. In particular, the Commission has the power to:
- determine applications for operating and personal licences, specify the conditions to be attached to such licences (both general and individual), limit the duration of such licences13, and determine applications to vary or renew operating and personal licences
- undertake activities for the purpose of assessing compliance with the Act, with any licence condition, code of practice, or other provision made by or by virtue of the Act, and further undertake activities for the purpose of assessing whether an offence contrary to the Act has been committed (including the power to request information from operating and personal licence holders under section 122 of the Act, to commence licence reviews under section 116 of the Act, and to carry out inspections under Part 15 of the Act
- take regulatory action against an operating or personal licence holder following a review under section 116 of the Act (including the power to issue a formal warning, to attach, remove, or amend a licence condition, to suspend or revoke a licence, and to impose a financial penalty for breach of a licence condition), and to void a bet and require repayment of any money paid in relation to it to investigate and prosecute offences committed under the Act14.
The framework of policies and procedures
1.11. This statement of principles for licensing and regulation underpins the work of the Commission.
1.12. The Commission has also developed a number of policies which build on the principles in this document and govern how the Commission will carry out its work, including:
- licensing, compliance and enforcement policy statement
- statement of principles for determining financial penalties
- Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice
- complaints procedure
- corporate governance framework
- Indicative Sanctions Guidance
- regulatory panel procedures and guidance.
1 The Commission regulates the National Lottery by virtue of the Public Bodies (Merger of the Gambling Commission and the National Lottery Commission) Order 2013 (opens in new tab), which abolished the National Lottery Commission and transferred the National Lottery Commission’s functions to the Gambling Commission. The changes introduced by the Order came into force on 1 October 2013.
2 Section 1 Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab)
3 Section 22 Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab)
4 The Regulators’ Code (opens in new tab) (July 2013) which came into force in April 2014
5 Reducing Administrative Burdens: Effective Inspection and Enforcement, Philip Hampton, March 2005
6 Regulatory Justice: Making Sanctions Effective, Professor Richard B. Macrory, November 2006
7 Consultation Principles, Cabinet Office, January 2016
8 The Scottish Improving Regulation Report 2008, July 2008
9 Interim Report from the Regulatory Review Group for the Scottish Group, February 2008; Regulatory Review Group Annual Report, July 2008
10 Gambling Commission: A Hampton Implementation Review Report, April 2009
11 Overcoming cultural barriers to information sharing within regulatory services, Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing, July 2016
12 The Commission’s jurisdiction also extends to Northern Ireland under section 5 of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 (opens in new tab) in respect of the offence of advertising unlicensed remote gambling: Northern Ireland
13 The Commission has not made any determinations regarding the duration of an operating or personal licence, or a specified class of operating or personal licence, under section 111 of the Act. Nor, as a result, has it made any determinations regarding the duration of a renewed operating or personal licence, or a specified class of operating or personal licence, under section 112 of the Act. If any such determinations are made in due course, they will be published as part of a revised version of this statement in accordance with the requirements of sections 111(4) and 112(7) of the Act respectively.
14 The Commission has no power to prosecute offences in Scotland. That power rests solely with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (opens in new tab), to whom the Commission can refer the results of an investigation.
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Statement of principles for licensing and regulation - General principles
Last updated: 23 May 2023
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