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Appendix 1 - Permits

This Appendix outlines factors to be taken into account when considering applications for premises licences, permits and other permissions including matters that will be considered when determining whether to review a licence.

Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centre (FEC) gaming machine permits (Schedule 10 para 7)

Where a premises does not hold a Premises Licence but wishes to make Category D gaming machines available for use it may apply to the Licensing Authority for this permit. The applicant must show that the premises will be wholly or mainly used for making Category D gaming machines available for use (Section 238).

As unlicensed family entertainment centres will particularly appeal to children and young persons, weight shall be given to child protection issues. The Licensing Authority will expect the applicant to show that there are policies and procedures in place to protect children from harm. Harm in this context is not limited to harm from gambling, but includes wider child protection considerations. The policies and procedures are expected to include:

  • What staff should do if they suspect that truant children are on the premises;
  • How staff should deal with unsupervised young children on the premises;
  • How staff should deal with children causing perceived problems on or around the premises;
  • Safeguarding awareness training
  • A basis criminal record check for staff or equivalent criminal records check for the applicant and also the person who has the day to day control of the premises

The Licensing Authority will also expect applicants to demonstrate

  • a full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes of the gambling that is permissible in unlicensed family entertainment centres;
  • that the applicant has no relevant convictions (those that are set out in Schedule 7 of the Act); and
  • that staff will be trained to have full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes (full, up to date details, are available on the Gambling Commission website

It should be noted that a Licensing Authority cannot attach conditions to this type of permit and that the “statement of principles” only applies to initial applications and no to renewals (paragraph 8(2)). For initial applications, the Licensing Authority need not (but may) have regard to the licensing objectives and shall have regard to any Gambling Commission Guidance.

The Gambling Commission’s Guidance for local authorities states: “In their three year licensing policy statement, licensing authorities may include a statement of principles that they propose to apply when exercising their functions in considering applications for permits…., licensing authorities may want to give weight to child protection issues.”

The Gambling Commission’s Guidance also states: “An application for a permit may be granted only if the Licensing Authority is satisfied that the premises will be used as an unlicensed FEC, and if the Chief Officer of Police has been consulted on the application.”

Statement of Principles: This Licensing Authority will expect the applicant to show that there are policies and procedures in place to protect children from harm. Harm in this context is not limited to harm from gambling but includes wider child protection considerations.

The efficiency of such policies and procedures will each be considered on their merits. However, they may include:-

  • appropriate measures/training for staff as regards suspected truant school children on the premises;
  • measures/training covering how staff would deal with unsupervised very young children being on the premises;
  • children causing perceived problems on/around the premises; and
  • Safeguarding awareness training

With regard to renewals of these permits, the Licensing Authority may refuse an application for renewal of a permit only on the grounds that an authorised local authority officer has been refused access to the premises without reasonable excuse or that renewal would not be reasonably consistent with pursuit of the licensing objectives.

(Alcohol) Licensed Premises (Licensing Act 2003) Gaming Machine Permits (Schedule 13 Para 4(1))

There is provision in the Act for premises licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises to automatically have two gaming machines of categories C and/or D. The premises licence holders merely need to notify the Licensing Authority. The Licensing Authority may make an order disapplying the automatic entitlement in respect of any particular premises if:

  • provision of the machines is not reasonably consistent with the pursuit of the licensing objectives;
  • gaming has taken place on the premises that breaches a condition of section 282 of the Gambling Act 2005;
  • the premises are mainly used for gaming; or
  • an offence under the Gambling Act 2005 has been committed on the premises.

If a premises wishes to have more than two machines, then it needs to apply for a permit and the Licensing Authority will consider that application based upon the licensing objectives, any Guidance issued by the Gambling Commission issued 12 under Section 25 of the Gambling Act 2005, and “such matters as they think relevant.”

This Licensing Authority considers that “such matters” will be decided on a case by case basis, but generally there will be regard to the need to protect children and vulnerable persons from being harmed or being exploited by gambling and will expect the applicant to satisfy the authority that there will be sufficient measures to ensure that under 18 year olds do not have access to the adult only gaming machines. Premises should be configured so that children are not invited to participate in, have accidental access to, or closely observe gambling where they are prohibited from participating.

Measures which will satisfy the Licensing Authority that there will be no access may include the adult machines being in sight of the bar or in the sight of staff that will monitor that the machines are not being used by those under 18 years old. Notices and signage may also help. As regards the protection of vulnerable persons applicants may wish to consider the provision of information leaflets/helpline numbers for organisations such as GamCare.

It should be noted that the Licensing Authority can decide to grant the application with a smaller number of machines and/or a different category of machines than that applied for. Conditions (other than these) cannot be attached.

It should also be noted that the holder of a permit must comply with any Code of Practice, as amended, issued by the Gambling Commission about the location and operation of the machine.

Prize Gaming Permits – (Schedule 14 Para 8 (3))

Given that the premises will particularly appeal to children and young persons, in considering what to take into account in the application process and what information to request from the applicant, the Licensing Authority will want to give weight to child protection issues and will ask the applicant to set out the types of gaming that he or she is intending to offer. The applicant will be expected to show that there are policies and procedures in place to protect children from harm. Harm in this context is not limited to harm from gambling but includes wider child protection considerations.

  • What staff should do if they suspect that truant children are on the premises;
  • How staff should deal with unsupervised young children on the premises;
  • How staff should deal with children causing perceived problems on or around the premises;
  • Safeguarding awareness training; and
  • A basis criminal record check for staff or equivalent criminal records check for the applicant and also the person who has the day to day control of the premises;

The Licensing Authority will also expect applicants to demonstrate

  • a full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes of the gambling that is permissible in unlicensed family entertainment centres;
  • that the applicant has no relevant convictions (those that are set out in Schedule 7 of the Act);
  • staff are trained to have full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes (full, up to date details, are available on the Gambling Commission website); and
  • that the gaming offered is within the law

In making its decision on an application for this permit the Licensing Authority need not (but may) have regard to the licensing objectives and shall have regard to any Gambling Commission Guidance.

The Gambling Act 2005, attaches mandatory conditions to all prize gaming permits. The Licensing Authority cannot attach conditions. The mandatory conditions are as follows:

The limits on the participation fees, as set out in regulations, must be complied with;

  • that all chances to participate in the gaming must be allocated on the premises on which the gaming is taking place and on one day; the game must be played and completed on the day the chances are allocated; and the result of the game must be made public in the premises on the day that it is played;
  • the prize for which the game is played must not exceed the amount set out in regulations (if a money prize) or the prescribed value (if non-monetary prize); and
  • participation in the gaming must not entitle the player to take part in any other gambling.

Club Gaming and Club Machines Permits (Schedule 12 Para 1)

Members’ Clubs and Miners’ Welfare Institutes (but not Commercial Clubs) may apply for a Club Gaming Permit or a Club Gaming Machine Permit. The Club Gaming Permit will enable the premises to provide gaming machines (3 machines of categories B3A, B4, C or D), equal chance gaming and games of chance as set out in regulations. A Club Machine Permit will enable the premises to provide gaming machines (3 machines of categories B3A, B4, C or D).

If a club does not wish to have the full range of facilities permitted by a club gaming permit or if they are a commercial club not permitted to provide non-machine gaming (other than exempt gaming under section 269 of the Act), they may apply for a club machine permit which will enable the premises to provide gaming machines (three machines of categories B4, C or D).

The Guidance for local authorities states: “Members’ Clubs must have at least 25 members and be established and conducted “wholly or mainly” for purposes other than gaming, unless the gaming is restricted to bridge and whist but there is no need for a club to have an alcohol licence.

The Licensing Authority is aware that it may refuse an application on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. the applicant does not fulfil the requirements for a members’ or commercial club or miners’ welfare institute and therefore is not entitled to receive the type of permit for which it has applied;
  2. the applicant’s premises are used wholly or mainly by children and/or young persons, or by both;
  3. an offence under the Act or a breach of a condition of a permit has been committed by the applicant while providing gaming activities;
  4. a permit held by the applicant has been cancelled in the previous ten years; or
  5. an objection has been lodged by the Gambling Commission or the police.

Fast Track Procedure (Schedule 12(10))

There is also a procedure available under the Act for premises that hold a Club Premises Certificate under the Licensing Act 2003 (Schedule 12, para 10). As the Gambling Commission’s Guidance for local authorities’ states: “Under the fast-track procedure there is no opportunity for objections to be made by the Commission or the police, and the grounds upon which an authority can refuse a permit are reduced” and “The grounds on which an application under the process may be refused are:

  1. that the club is established primarily for gaming, other than gaming prescribed under schedule 12;
  2. that in addition to the prescribed gaming, the applicant provides facilities for other gaming; or
  3. that a club gaming permit or club machine permit issued to the applicant in the last ten years has been cancelled.”

There are statutory conditions on club gaming permits that no child uses a category B3A, B4 or C machine on the premises and that the holder complies with any relevant provision of a code of practice about the location and operation of gaming machines.

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