Premises assessments - case studies
These case studies are to help you find proven successful methods for dealing with issues in your area.
We have updated our advice note on the role of authorised persons in Scotland to provide clarification on two issues:
- Authorised persons are already operating within local authorities in Scotland by virtue of their existing powers - for example, environmental health officers authorised by local authorities will already be authorised persons. The note highlights that, “It is a matter for local authorities and Licensing Boards to consider how those officers are currently discharging their statutory functions under the Gambling Act”
- Authorised persons, irrespective of the basis of which they are authorised, can act with legal authority under the Act. For example, “Once authorised for health or prevention of pollution purposes, Licensing Standards Officers (LSOs) are also authorised under the Act and can (and should) rely on the enforcement powers in the Act to regulate gambling in their area”.
R (on the application of Betting Shop Services Ltd) v Southend-on-Sea Borough Council 
GLA: Part 7 Premises licences
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council received representations on a premises application as to whether the premises was finished to an extent that it could be considered for a premises licence rather than a provisional statement.
An application for judicial review was then brought. The claimant sought to:
- have the decision quashed
- have the matter remitted to the council for a determination of its application for a premises licence
- have that application granted or refused.
It was held that the council is entitled to decide that it is appropriate to grant a licence subject to conditions; it is not obliged to grant a licence subject to conditions.
R (on the application of TC Projects Ltd) v Newcastle Licensing Justices 
Licensing authorities have discretion to refuse to grant such a licence if it is shown that there is no existing unmet demand for gaming facilities of the kind proposed.
An application under the 1968 Act for a casino licence was refused by licensing justices constituting the Betting and Gaming Licensing Committee for the city.
The claimant lodged an appeal to the Crown Court, where it is entitled to a full re-hearing of the application and also lodged an application for permission to apply for judicial review of the licensing justices' decision.
The appeal was dismissed and licensing justices’ decision to refuse to grant a Part II gaming licence was upheld as there was substantial demand for the type of gaming facilities proposed, but there was no unmet demand at the present time and the applicant had not shown that there were other material considerations such that a licence should be granted.
Clockfair Ltd v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council 
The local authority granted a casino licence where a bingo licence was already in place.
The casino operator (Grosvenor Casino) held licences for a bingo club and a casino at its premises in Oldbury under the Gaming Act 1968. It operated the former but not the latter licence. A rival casino operator (Clockfair), applied to review the casino licence on the grounds:
- the licence had not been used
- the original grant had not been lawful since s152 of the Gambling Act 2005 precludes the issue of two premises licence for a single premises.
This resulted in an application to transfer the licence to another premises.
The Gambling Act 2005 prohibits the issue of a premises licence where a premises licence converted from the previous regime (Gaming Act 1968) is already in effect in relation to those premises.
The High Court allowed Clockfair’s appeal. The High Court held that s152 forbade the issue of a second licence.
Further, while the duty in s164 generally obliged an authority to issue a licence it had granted, this was to be read subject to the prohibition in s152 which governed the particular situation where, at the moment of issuing a licence, there is already a licence in existence on the premises. The Judge held that the authority should consider all material factors in the round.
This appeal case, regarding an application for a premises licence for a new betting shop in Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, was unusual in that it was the subject of multiple appeals and was partially decided on the rarely used argument of ‘abuse of process’.
The application had received considerable opposition and the Board refused the application on the grounds that it would not be reasonably consistent with the licensing objective of protecting the vulnerable, or with the Board’s own gambling policy.
The applicant appealed primarily on the basis of the lack of adequate reasons for the original refusal.
Whilst this appeal was being dealt with the applicant lodged a second application for the same premises which generated even more opposition. The Board then refused this application while the original appeal was still pending and this refusal was then also appealed by the applicant.
Lawyers acting for the Board cited an abuse of process point in that the applicant was insisting on the first appeal being decided. The first appeal was dismissed and only the second appeal was determined given that it was based on the most up to date set of facts and featured the even greater levels of objection to the application.
It is worth noting that there are currently no licensed betting shops in Orkney, and this has been the case for a number of years.
Westminster City Council received an application for a new betting premises licence in Harrow. The application was opposed by the LA, police, four ward councillors, one business and 68 local residents.
Their objection centred around an existing betting shop in the area which had become a focal point for street drinking, drug dealers and the selling of stolen goods.
The application for a new betting shop was refused and the LA began an investigation into the history of the existing betting shop and the issues identified by local residents.
A review application of the existing betting shop was made by the LA using its powers under section 201 of the Act. The review was lodged on the grounds that:
- the premises had breached conditions attached to the premises licence by permitting alcohol onto the premises
- the premises was associated with crime and disorder, in that the premises was used by persons who were drunk, under the influence of drugs, and that drug dealing and the sale of stolen goods had taken place on the premises
- that the premises was further associated with crime and disorder, in particular that groups of people under the influence of drugs or alcohol frequently congregated outside the premises and abused and threatened other members of the public and local residents
- that there was a risk that vulnerable people may be harmed by using the premises for gambling due to their impaired judgement through alcohol or drugs.
The review application was supported by the police and local residents. After engagement with the LA the betting shop put a number of measures in place including:
- the replacement of all of staff at these premises
- an upgraded CCTV system including cameras outside the premises
- a monitor within the staff counter area to observe the CCTV footage and the outside of the premises
- the removal of one of the advertising boards from the window to provide a better view of the outside
- double staffing at all times
- an SIA licensed security officer at the premises seven days a week from midday to close of business.
With a total of 31 conditions attached the licence the Licensing Sub-Committee decided to allow the premises to continue to operate.
They also warned if there were any breaches of these conditions then there was the potential for a further review of the premises licence.
Further details are available in the Sub-Committee report and decision.
Gaming machines must only be made available in appropriate licensed environments.
If a gambling business has applied for a variation to a premises licence in which the accompanying plan of the premises only contains an outline of the licensed premises and the exit points, without, for example, the location of the gaming machines and counter, you should request further detail.
The Gambling Act 2005 (Premises Licences and Provisional Statements) (England and Wales) and (Scotland) Regulations 2007
The premises plan in itself is only one means by which you may seek reassurance that the requirements will be met. It may be that conditions attached to the premises licence regarding lines of sight between the counter and the gaming machines, staffing arrangements or security devices are a more effective method of doing so. Local circumstances and concerns and the layout of a particular premises may well determine what is most appropriate for an individual application.
Casinos are the only kind of gambling premises in Great Britain that are strictly limited as to number and location. Casino permitted areas 2005 and 1968.
If your LA is neither one of the 53 permitted areas created under the Gaming Act 1968, nor one of the 16 authorities permitted to issue a casino premises licence under the Gambling Act 2005, then at present you cannot allow a casino to be developed.
Every licensing authority must have a gambling policy, updated every three years. In adopting this policy it is open to any authority to pass a ‘no casino resolution’ or to determine that it would welcome a casino were a premises licence available.
There are different legislative means by which the numbers and locations for casinos might be varied in the future, and so it is appropriate for licensing authorities to debate and determine their attitude to casinos. However any decision to invest in feasibility studies or to allow outline planning applications should be made in the knowledge that whether casino licensing is opened up and if so in what timescale, is uncertain.
Some gambling business may request to vary their licence to add betting to their existing casino only licence. When considering this type of application you must be satisfied that, if granted, the premises would meet the relevant mandatory and default conditions required for both casino and betting.
GLA: Part 17 Casinos
GLA: Part 19 Betting
Where casinos are permitted, and particularly where there are unused licences, issues may arise when a second casino licence is transferred to premises previously occupied by a single casino.
The limitations on casino premises licence numbers and locations mean that operators are keen to preserve premises licences even if the casino is not operating, and this requires that the licence be associated with a premises that the operator has the right to occupy. One means used to preserve a casino premises licence for future use is to de-license part of an existing casino and re-license that space as a separate casino using another premises licence.
Typically there is a main casino and a smaller second casino which will not always offer live table gaming.
Where all the gaming in one casino is terminal-based (that is, there are no live tables and the casino gaming is accessed from terminals), there must be more player positions for the casino gaming than there are gaming machines (for example a minimum of ten touch bet roulette terminals and nine category B1 gaming machines).
The full provisions of the licence conditions and codes of practice apply to each casino as if they were unconnected, and the mandatory and default premises licence conditions apply in full to each casino.
GLA: Section 7 Premises licences
If you have concerns about any new applications of this sort, or about arrangements that are already in place, please contact your compliance manager for advice.
The maximum permitted number of B3 and B4 gaming machines sited on a premises is limited to 20% of the total number of gaming machines made available for use. Any AGC or bingo premises licences which were granted before 13 July 2011 are not affected by this.