Agenda item

Gambling Act Policy (Agenda item 6)

Report of Phil Adams, Executive People and Public Protection Manager.



The Legal Services Manager presented the report in the absence of the Licensing & Business Support Manager who had sent her apologies due to illness.


The purpose of this meeting was to consider the amendments to the Council’s Gambling Policy (Statement of Principles) prior to it being issued for consultation.


The Council’s current Statement took effect in January 2016 and therefore the required review process must be completed by the end of 2018 to enable publication in January 2019.  The timetable for the Committee process had been highlighted at section 1.6 of the report.


The proposed changes were also highlighted at section 1.7 of the report.  One of the changes at Part B Section 16 of the Policy (attached at Appendix A) explained the new recommendation from the Gambling Commission for Licensing Authorities to produce a Local Area Profile (see section N on page 9 of the agenda pack).  Councillor Darby asked if this included the number of betting shops in the area.  Members were informed that these premises were not limited.


The Gambling Act required the Policy to be reviewed every three years which included the preparation of the Policy, the consultation and the publication.  The Gambling Act 2005 placed the responsibility for the licensing of gambling premises and the issuing of gambling permits with Local Authorities, with the associated responsibility for ensuring that the conditions on these licences were upheld..  Amongst other matters the 2005 Act dealt with the licensing of:


·        Casinos

·        Betting Shops

·        Bingo Halls

·        Amusement Arcades

·        Gaming Machines; and

·        Society Lotteries


The Chairman referred to section L on page 9 of the agenda pack and presumed that it meant that if a person did not have any money, no personal credit could be given.  Councillor Darby asked how betting shops notified each other of problematic customers now that the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) had come into effect.  The Licensing Officer took this to be self-exclusion; gamblers were considered to be ‘brand’ loyal and although there were provisions for such behaviour, it would be down to the individual shops and their privacy notices as to what steps should be taken if anyone caused trouble.


Section K referred to test purchasing and it was explained that Breckland Council did not carry out this testing itself.  Most betting shop companies were supported by another company to carry out this exercise to verify the robustness of gambling businesses controls on underage gambling.  The Chairman asked if gambling machines had limited amounts that could be won.  The Licensing Officer explained that this was currently being considered by a Parliamentary Select Committee and a decision was awaited.


The Chairman wanted to know if Breckland Council had ever received an application for a casino.    Members were informed that Breckland was in an area that could not have one as only set areas were allowed to accommodate a casino.


Following discussion, the Legal Services Manager asked if Members were happy for the revised Gambling Act Policy to go out to consultation.  If however, Members had further comments to add after this meeting, their comments could be considered prior to the Policy being adopted at the Full Council meeting.


Councillor Hollis asked if this Policy applied to cafes with gaming machines.  The Licensing Officer explained that cafes were not supposed to have such machines if the premises did not sell alcohol and for that they would need a permit.  If the premises had more than two machines they would also have to be licensed.  Question/knowledge machines could be installed in such premises as no monetary winnings were involved. There were cafés that had separate rooms for gaming machines called Adult Gaming Centres of which a premises licence would be required as well as a licence from the Gambling Commission.  There were also unlicensed (with permit) Family Entertainment Centres, for example at coastal resorts.


The options contained in the report were highlighted, and it was:


RESOLVED that the Council’s Gambling Policy (Statement of Principles) as shown at Appendix A of the report be approved for consultation; subject to the wording ‘premise’ and ‘premises’ contained within the Policy document being reviewed.

Supporting documents: