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Information requirements from licensing authorities

Details on the information that we require from licensing authorities.

Published: 20 October 2021

Last updated: 20 October 2021

This version was printed or saved on: 7 December 2022

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/guidance/information-requirements-from-licensing-authorities

Overview

Local licensing authorities are required to send us data and information as part of the shared regulation framework for gambling set up by the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in a new tab).

We need the following data and information from licensing authorities:

Shared regulation depends on effective partnerships and collaboration, enabled by the mutual exchange of data and information. Licensing authorities play a particular role in regulating gambling activity at a local level. The data and information they provide allows us to have a national level joined-up view of gambling regulation. This informs our work to deliver the licensing objectives and our duty to advise the Secretary of State about the incidence of gambling and the way it is conducted.

This guidance explains what data and information we need from licensing authorities and how they must send it to us. It is a simple version of content contained within our formal guidance to licensing authorities.

Age verification test purchasing results

It is an offence under section 48 (opens in a new tab) and section 49 (opens in a new tab) of the Gambling Act 2005 for a young person to gamble or to enter premises restricted to adults. It is also an offence for a person to invite or permit a child to gamble or enter a premise under section 46 (opens in a new tab) and section 47 (opens in a new tab) of the Gambling Act 2005.

For these reasons, we encourage licensing authorities to conduct age verification test purchasing of the gambling premises they licence as well as other premises where gambling machines are situated, such as pubs.

We further encourage licensing authorities to send us the results of age verification test purchasing they, or organisations contracted by them, have conducted.

We use age verification test purchase data to assess the effectiveness of age verification policies and procedures on a licensee, sector, and industry-wide basis.

To simplify this reporting, we ask licensing authorities to use a templated MS Excel Open XML format spreadsheet, a blank copy of which can be downloaded.

Completed spreadsheets are to be submitted to testpurchaseresults@gamblingcommission.gov.uk, ideally within 28 days of the end of the UK financial quarter in which the test purchasing took place.

Additionally, licensing authorities must tell us the total number of age verification test purchases they have made in their annual Licensing Authority return.

Club gaming permits and club machine permits

Club gaming permits

A club gaming permit allows non-commercial members’ clubs or miners’ welfare institutes to offer:

Club machine permits

A club machine permit allows members’ clubs, miners’ welfare institutes, and commercial clubs to offer:

Restrictions on the gaming allowed, such as limits on stakes and prizes, apply to both permit types.

Club gaming and club machine permits, and renewals of these, are issued by licensing authorities. When a club or institute applies for a permit, they must a copy the application to us and their local police force.

After a licensing authority decides a permit application (either by granting it or refusing it) the licensing authority must notify us of their decision and the reasons for it. The authority must also tell us if they cancel a permit, for example if the holder fails to pay its annual fee, or if a permit holder commits an offence or breaches the conditions of the permit.

To help us maintain accurate records, we find it useful if licensing authorities also inform us if they renew a permit, or if a club, institute, or commercial club surrenders it.

Notifications of permit grants, refusals, cancellations, renewals, or surrenders must be sent, by email, to gclocalauthority@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Email notifications must include the following information:

  • name of the applicant (as it appears on the standard application form)
  • address of the applicant (as it appears on the standard application form)
  • type of decision/notice (grant, renewal grant, refusal, cancellation, surrender)
  • date of the decision/notice
  • reason(s) for a refusal or cancellation (if appropriate).

Notifications should be sent to us within a month of the decision date.

Additionally, licensing authorities must report total numbers of club gaming permits and club machine permits in their annual Licensing Authority return. This data is published in our annual Licensing Authority Statistics.

Information about gambling-related crime

Licensing authorities are requested to send any concerns about the way in which a gambling business is being run in their local area, or suspicious gambling-related activity, to our Intelligence team.

Examples of concerns are:

Information should be sent by email to intelligencereports@gamblingcommission.gov.uk, or by secure means (as directed by the Intelligence team).

When sending us information, tell us the name of the person(s), business(es), or premise(s) the report is about, if known. If any person or business holds a gambling licence issued by us, use the details as they appears on our Public Registers. For premises, tell us the full address.

See our website for further information on reporting something in confidence.

Licensing authority annual returns

Licensing authority annual returns

We collect data from local licensing authorities to help us monitor and report on the state of gambling in Great Britain. To simplify and standardise this data collection, we require licensing authorities to complete an annual licensing authority return.

Data from each licensing authority return is published in our annual Licensing Authority Statistics report, which provides data on activity by licensing authorities in respect of their duties under the Gambling Act 2005.

The annual licensing authority return is included in the single data list (SDL) (opens in a new tab) managed by the Ministry of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The SDL is a list of all the datasets that local government must submit to central government, including arm’s length bodies such as the Gambling Commission.

The return collects data on inspections and age verification test purchasing visits of gambling premises by licensing authorities.

Submitting licensing authority returns

Licensing authority returns need to be submitted via our online returns system (opens in a new tab).

Access to the online returns system requires a passcode. They are sent to the registered local authority lead for gambling licensing every March, contained within a letter notifying them that the online return system is opening for submissions.

A glossary of terms and guidance on the questions in the licensing authority return are available.

The reporting period for the returns is 1 April to 31 March annually. Returns must be submitted within 42 days after the end of the annual period.

Where returns are submitted late, incomplete, or are inaccurate, we will contact the licensing authorities. If we do not receive an up-to-date, accurate regulatory return after we have contacted a licensing authority, our Chief Executive will normally contact the licensing authority’s Chief Executive to discuss the reasons.

If a licensing authority has problems completing their return, they should contact us.

PDF copies of previously submitted returns are available for licensing authorities to download from the ‘History’ section of the online returns system.

Glossary of terms

A

Adult gaming centre

An Adult Gaming Centre (AGC) means a premise (not a Family Entertainment Centre) used for making gaming machines available for use. An AGC must be licensed by us. It can offer an unlimited number of category C and D gaming machines and up to 20% of its total number of machines can be of category B3 or B4. The premises is for those aged 18 and over only.

B

Betting

Betting is the making or accepting a bet on (a) the outcome of a race, competition or other event or process, (b) the likelihood of anything occurring or not occurring, or (c) whether anything is or is not true. For the purposes of this definition, it refers to non-remote betting and gaming machines in a licensed betting premise (e.g. betting shop).

Bingo

Bingo means any version of that game, irrespective of by what name it is described. It is commonly a game of chance in which players match randomly drawn numbers against a printed or electronically generated card of numbers. For the purposes of this definition, it refers to non-remote bingo games and gaming machines in a licensed bingo premise (e.g. bingo hall).

C

Casino

Casino is an arrangement whereby people are given an opportunity to participate in one or more casino games. For the purposes of this definition, it refers to non-remote casino games and gaming machines in a licensed casino.

F

Family Entertainment Centre

A Family Entertainment Centre (FEC) means a premise (other than an Adult Gaming Centre) wholly or mainly used for making gaming machines available for use. There are two types of FECs, licensed and unlicensed. A licensed FEC is one licensed by us and allowed to offer an unlimited number of Category C and D gaming machines in a premises which is open to all ages. Category C machines must, however, be in a segregated part of the premises that is supervised to prevent children and young people accessing those machines. An unlicensed FEC contains just Category D gaming machines or bingo prize gaming machines and is also open to all ages. Such a premise does not require a licence from us but must have a permit from its local licensing authority.

I

Inspections

Inspections is a broad term which in this context refers to inspections of licensed gambling premises, or other venues where gambling is authorised, by a licensing authority. We categorise inspections by four types: pre-planned inspections, follow-up inspections, inspections following complaints, and age verification test purchase inspections.

Inspections - Adult gaming centre

See definitions for Inspections and Adult gaming centre.

Inspections - Betting premises

See definitions for Inspections and Betting.

Inspections - Bingo

See definitions for Inspections and Bingo.

Inspections - Casino

See definitions for Inspections and Casino.

Inspections - Other

See definition for Inspections. Other refers to venues which are not licensed gambling premises but where gambling is authorised to take place. Examples are these premises are members’ clubs, miners’ welfare institute, and alcohol licensed premises. The primary purpose of the visit must be to inspect a gambling-related activity.

Inspections - Tracks

See definitions for Inspections and Tracks.

Inspections (follow-up visits)

An inspection (follow-up visit) in this context means an inspection of a licensed gambling premise, or other venue where gambling is authorised, by a licensing authority, following an initial visit where gambling-related issues were identified or needed following up.

Inspections following a complaint

An inspection following a complaint in this context means an inspection of a licensed gambling premise, or other venue where gambling is authorised, by a licensing authority, following its receipt of a complaint (e.g. from a member of the public, a referral by a police force, or the Gambling Commission). Inspections following receipt of a Licensing Authority Compliance Event (LACE) report are a further example.

P

Pre-planned (routine) inspections undertaken

A pre-planned inspection (routine) in this context means a pre-planned inspection of a licensed gambling premise, or other venue where gambling is authorised, by a licensing authority, where the primary purpose of the inspection is to inspect gambling-related matters.

R

Reviews & other gambling compliance and regulatory work

Reviews and other gambling compliance and regulatory work is a term used in our Licensing Authority return where we ask licensing authorities to tell us about any significant review or gambling compliance and regulatory work they wish to make us aware of.

T

Test purchasing visits

It is an offence under the Gambling Act 2005 (Sections 48 and 49) for a young person to gamble or to enter premises restricted to adults. It is also an offence for a person to invite or permit a child to gamble or enter a premise Gambling Act 2005 (Sections 46 and 47). For these reasons, we encourage licensing authorities to conduct age verification test purchasing of the gambling premises they licence. These are a method by which licensing authorities can check if a licensed gambling premise, or other venue where gambling is taking place, has effective controls to prevent underage gambling. A test purchase visit will normally involve a young person, specifically recruited for the task and supervised by a licensing authority enforcement officer, attempting to enter a premise and take part in a gambling activity.

Tracks

Tracks refers to a venue for track racing, such as a horse racecourse, greyhound or dog racing stadium, or point-to-point circuit, where betting takes place, provided by a licensed betting operator. Betting is authorised by an Occasional Use Notice (see separate definition).

Guidance on questions in licensing authority returns

This page gives guidance on the questions you will need to answer in your licensing authority returns. This table provides guidance on the following question topics:

Inspections

Group Question Guidance
Inspections Adult gaming centre – number of pre-planned (routine) inspections undertaken Enter the total number of pre-planned inspections of licensed adult gaming centres during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Adult gaming centre – number of inspections following a complaint Enter the total number of inspections following a complaint of licensed adult gaming centres during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Adult gaming centre – number of inspections (follow-up visits) Enter the total number of follow-up inspections (after an initial pre-planned or following a complaint inspection) of licensed adult gaming centres during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Adult gaming centre – Test purchasing visits Enter the total number of age verification test purchase visits at licensed adult gaming centres during the reporting period, including retests. Only report gambling-related age verification test purchasing visits (i.e. visit to licensed gambling premises or other venues where gambling is authorised). Enter 0 if no return value is applicable.
Inspections Betting premises – number of pre-planned (routine) inspections undertaken Enter the total number of pre-planned inspections of licensed betting premises during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Betting premises – number of inspections following a complaint Enter the total number of inspections following a complaint of licensed betting premises during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Betting premises – number of inspections (follow-up visits) Enter the total number of follow-up inspections (after an initial pre-planned or following a complaint inspection) of licensed betting premises during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Betting premises – Test purchasing visits Enter the total number of age verification test purchase visits at licensed betting premises during the reporting period, including retests. Only report gambling-related age verification test purchasing visits (i.e. visit to licensed gambling premises or other venues where gambling is authorised). Enter 0 if no return value is applicable.
Inspections Bingo – number of pre-planned (routine) inspections undertaken Enter the total number of pre-planned inspections of licensed bingo premises during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Bingo – number of inspections following a complaint Enter the total number of inspections following a complaint of licensed bingo premises during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Bingo – number of inspections (follow-up visits) Enter the total number of follow-up inspections (after an initial pre-planned or following a complaint inspection) of licensed bingo premises during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Bingo – Test purchasing visits Enter the total number of age verification test purchase visits at licensed bingo premises during the reporting period, including retests. Only report gambling-related age verification test purchasing visits (i.e. visit to licensed gambling premises or other venues where gambling is authorised). Enter 0 if no return value is applicable.
Inspections Casino – number of pre-planned (routine) inspections undertaken Enter the total number of pre-planned inspections of licensed casinos during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Casino – number of inspections following a complaint Enter the total number of inspections following a complaint of licensed casinos during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Casino – number of inspections (follow-up visits) Enter the total number of follow-up inspections (after an initial pre-planned or following a complaint inspection) of licensed casinos during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Casino – Test purchasing visits Enter the total number of age verification test purchase visits at licensed casinos during the reporting period, including retests. Only report gambling-related age verification test purchasing visits (i.e. visit to licensed gambling premises or other venues where gambling is authorised). Enter 0 if no return value is applicable.
Inspections Unlicensed and licensed family entertainment centres – number of pre-planned (routine) inspections undertaken Enter the total number of pre-planned inspections of family entertainment centres (licensed or unlicensed) during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Unlicensed and licensed family entertainment centres – number of inspections following a complaint Enter the total number of inspections following a complaint of family entertainment centres (licensed or unlicensed) during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Unlicensed and licensed family entertainment centres – number of inspections (follow-up visits) Enter the total number of follow-up inspections (after an initial pre-planned or following a complaint inspection) of family entertainment centres (licensed or unlicensed) during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Unlicensed and licensed family entertainment centres – Test purchase visits Enter the total number of age verification test purchase visits at family entertainment centres (licensed or unlicensed) during the reporting period, including retests. Only report gambling-related age verification test purchasing visits (i.e. visit to licensed gambling premises or other venues where gambling is authorised). Enter 0 if no return value is applicable.
Inspections Other – number of pre-planned (routine) inspections undertaken Enter the total number of pre-planned gambling-related inspections of venues where gambling is authorised to take place (other than licensed gambling premises) during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Other – number of inspections following a complaint Enter the total number of gambling-related inspections following a complaint of venues where gambling is authorised to take place (other than licensed gambling premises) during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Other – number of inspections (follow-up visits) Enter the total number of follow-up gambling-related inspections (after an initial pre-planned or following a complaint inspection) of venues where gambling is authorised to take place (other than licensed gambling premises) during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Other – Test purchasing visits Enter the total number of age verification test purchase visits at venues where gambling is authorised to take place (other than licensed gambling premises) during the reporting period, including retests. Only report gambling-related age verification test purchasing visits (i.e. visit to licensed gambling premises or other venues where gambling is authorised). Enter 0 if no return value is applicable.
Inspections Tracks – number of pre-planned (routine) inspections undertaken Enter the total number of pre-planned inspections of track venues where gambling is taking place during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Tracks – number of inspections following a complaint Enter the total number of inspections following a complaint of track venues where gambling is taking place during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Tracks – number of inspections (follow-up visits) Enter the total number of follow-up inspections (after an initial pre-planned or following a complaint inspection) of track venues where gambling is taking place during the reporting period. Enter 0 if no return value is applicable. Do not include age verification test purchase inspections as these are reported in a separate category.
Inspections Tracks – Test purchasing visits Enter the total number of age verification test purchase visits at track venues where gambling is taking place during the reporting period, including retests. Only report gambling-related age verification test purchasing visits (i.e. visit to licensed gambling premises or other venues where gambling is authorised). Enter 0 if no return value is applicable.

Reviews and other gambling compliance and regulatory work

Group Question Guidance
Reviews and other gambling compliance and regulatory work Operator name Enter the name of the person or business about which the review or other gambling compliance or regulatory work refers. If the business holds a gambling licence issued by us, use the Account Name as it appears on our Public Register of operating licences. If multiple operators are involved, enter each operator on a separate report.
Reviews & other gambling compliance and regulatory work Premise address Enter Line 1 of the address of the premise about which the matter refers. If multiple premises are involved, list one here and list the others in the ‘Outcome of work’ box. If the matter is not about a specific premise, enter the Head Office or registered address of the business.
Reviews and other gambling compliance and regulatory work Premise address Enter Line 2 of the address of the premise about which the matter refers.
Reviews and other gambling compliance and regulatory work Town / City Enter the Town / City of the address of the premise about which the matter refers.
Reviews and other gambling compliance and regulatory work Postcode Enter the full postcode of the address of the premise about which the matter refers.
Reviews and other gambling compliance and regulatory work Reason for compliance / enforcement work (e.g. complaint about underage access) Enter the reason for the review or other gambling compliance or regulatory work being reported. Explain if the matter is about a licensed gambling operator, premise, or other venue in which gambling is authorised to take place. Include any relevant references to the Gambling Act 2005 if relevant.
Reviews and other gambling compliance and regulatory work Outcome of work (e.g. informal warning, review of licence) Enter the outcome of the review or other gambling compliance or regulatory work being reported. Include any recommendations for action by us.

Submission statement

Group Question Guidance
Submission statement By ticking this box, you confirm that the information submitted is accurate to the best of your knowledge. You also confirm that you are authorised by your employer to make the submission on their behalf. Tick the box to confirm that the information submitted is accurate to the best of your knowledge and that you are authorised by your employer to make the submission on their behalf. If you have concerns about the quality of the data and information submitted, please tell us by email at gclocalauthority@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Licensing authority compliance events

If we receive information about non-compliance or illegal activity in a licensing authority’s geographical area, which is primarily a local matter, we will share this information with the relevant local licensing authority. These referrals are known as licensing authority compliance events (LACE).

On making the referral, the responsibility for responding to the event is discharged from the Gambling Commission to the licensing authority.

The referrals are made by a member of our Compliance team and are sent by email to the registered lead for gambling licensing in the relevant local authority area.

After reviewing the referral, licensing authorities should advise us of what, if any, action is taken so we can update our records.

This notification should be sent to lreferrals@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Email notifications must include the following information:

  • service request code (as included by us in the originating referral, for example 1-252223480)
  • date the email containing the referral was sent to you
  • details of what action was taken in response to the referral.

The total number of LACE referrals made by us is published in our annual Licensing Authority Statistics.

Local authority lotteries

A local authority lottery is a lottery run by a local authority to raise funds to cover anything for which it has the power to incur expenditure. For example, local community projects, arts centres or parks and leisure facilities.

To run a lottery, a local authority must have an operating licence issued by us. Some individuals in the authority may also need to hold a personal management licence or complete an Annex A declaration.

There are information requirements for holders of operating licences and personal management licences. These can be found in the lotteries sector guidance and what you need to tell us when you hold a personal licence.

Other data and information

The list does not cover data or information returns which licensing authorities send us voluntarily, or ad hoc requests which may be required in exceptional circumstances.

Premises licences

A premises licences is a licence, issued by a local licencing authority, that authorises gambling to take place in that premises.

Premises licences are required for persons or business that provide gambling facilities on:

Other use of premises to legally provide gambling facilities, such as authorisations for alcohol licensed premises, clubs and miners’ welfare institutions, and family entertainment centres (for those with Category D gaming machines only), do not need a premises licence.

Applying for a premises licence

To obtain a premises licence, a person or business must first hold an operating licence from us authorising them to carry out the activity in respect of which the premises licence is applied for.

Before applying for a premises licence, a person or business may apply for a provisional statement in respect of a premise that is expected to be built, altered (for example, converted from a retail shop into a gambling premise), or that the person or business expects to acquire a right to occupy.

When a premises licence or provisional statement is applied for, the applicant must send a copy to us. Premises licence holders must also send us copies of applications to transfer or vary their premises licence(s), or apply for a reinstatement of any lapsed licence(s).

On receiving the application, we may make a representation to the local licensing authority about it.

A licensing authority must tell us if:

To help us maintain accurate records, we find it useful if licensing authorities also inform us if they revoke a premises licence (for example, due to non-payment of the annual fee).

We use the data provided to maintain a register of premises licences, which we use to inform our compliance and enforcement work, and to monitor the licensing of premises nationally.

Notifications relating to premises licence must be sent, by email, to gclocalauthority@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Notifications should be sent to us within a month of the decision date.

Email notifications must include the following information:

  • Gambling Commission account number of the operating licence holder (as it appears under ‘Account number’ on public register of operating licence holders)
  • name of the operating licence holder (as it appears under ‘Account name’ on public register of operating licence holders)
  • address of the premise (full address, including postcode)
  • type of notification (grant premises licence, provisional statement, grant reinstatement, grant transfer, grant vary, reject premises licence, reject provisional statement, reject reinstatement, reject transfer, reject vary, surrender, revocation, lapse, hearing, review decision)
  • date of the decision/notice
  • reason(s) for a rejection, revocation or review decision (if appropriate)
  • other detail (for example authorised activities or conditions added, amended or removed, or information about any transfers).

Small society lotteries

A small society lottery is a lottery which:

Small society lotteries are registered by the licensing authority in the area where the principal office of the society is located.

When a licensing authority registers a society lottery, they must tell us about the registration. They must also tell us if a registration is cancelled (either at the request of the registered society or due to non-payment of an annual fee).

If during the registration process or after the registration, the licensing authority thinks that the proposed lottery is a large lottery, they must refer the matter to us.

To help us maintain accurate records, we find it useful if licensing authorities also inform us if they revoke a registration.

Notifications of small society lottery registration, cancellations, referrals and revocations must be sent, by email, to gclocalauthority@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Notifications should be sent to us within a month of the decision date.

Email notifications must include the following information:

  • a copy of the statement provided by the society promoter (as specified in the Gambling Act 2005, Schedule 11, Part 4 (opens in a new tab)
  • type of notice (registration, cancellation, referral, revocation)
  • date of the registration, cancellation, referral, revocation
  • reason(s) for the cancellation/referral/revocation (if appropriate).