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Part C – Permits/Temporary Use Notices & Occasional Use Notices

Family Entertainment Centre Permit

Where a premises does not hold a premises licence but wishes to provide gaming machines, it may apply to the Licensing Authority for a permit.

The Licensing Authority will expect applicants to show that there are policies and procedures in place to protect children from Harm in this context is not limited to harm from gambling but includes wider child protection considerations. The efficiency of such policy and procedures will be considered on their merits. They may include training of staff regarding suspected truant    school children, how to deal with unsupervised, very young children or children causing problems in and around the  premises.

The Licensing Authority will expect applicants to demonstrate:

  • a full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes of the gambling that is permissible in unlicensed FECs;
  • that the applicant has no relevant convictions (those that are set out in Schedule 7 of the Act); and
  • that staff are trained to have a full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes.

The applicant will be expected to provide evidence that a suitable criminal record check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has been conducted on all staff in his/her employment.

It should be noted that the applicant must show that the premises will be wholly or mainly used for making gaming machines  available for use and would, therefore, exclude any premises    primarily used for any other purposes, e.g. canteens, fast food takeaways, leisure centres, garages and petrol filling stations, taxi offices.

It should be noted that the Licensing Authority cannot attach conditions to this type of permit.

Alcohol Licensed Premises

There is provision in the Act for premises licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises, to automatically have 2 gaming machines, of categories C and/or D.  The premises merely need to notify the Licensing Authority and pay the prescribed fee. 

The Licensing Authority can remove the automatic authorisation 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 Act, e.g. gaming machines have been made available in a way that does not comply with the requirements on the location and operation of the gaming machines;
  • the premises are mainly used for gambling; or
  • an offence under the Gambling Act has been committed on the premises.

If a premises wishes to have more than 2 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 under Section 25 of the Gambling Act 2005, and “such matters as they think relevant”.  The 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 harm or being exploited by gambling.

The applicant will be expected 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.

Measures which will satisfy the Authority that there will be no access may include the adult machines being in sight of the bar, or in the sight of staff who will monitor that the machines are not being used by those under 18.  Notices and signage may also be required.  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 is recognised that some alcohol licensed premises may apply for a premises licence for their non-alcohol licensed areas.  Any such application would most likely need to be applied for, and dealt with as an Adult Gaming Centre premises licence.

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 issued by the Gambling Commission about the location and operation of the machine.

Club Gaming and Club Machine Permits

Members Clubs and Miner’s Welfare Institutes (but not Commercial Clubs) may apply for a Club Gaming Permit or a Club Gaming Machines Permit.

The Club Gaming Permit will enable the premises to provide gaming machines (3 machines of categories B, C or D), equal chance gaming, and games of chance as set out in regulations. 

A Club Gaming Machine Permit will enable the premises to provide gaming machines (3 machines of categories B, C or D) only. NB Commercial Clubs may not site category B3A gaming machines offering lottery games in their club

Gambling Commission Guidance 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 permitted by separate regulations.  The Secretary of State has made regulations and these cover bridge and whist clubs, which replicates the position under the Gaming Act 1968.  A members’ club must be permanent in nature, not established to make commercial profit, and controlled by its members equally.  Examples include working mens’ clubs, branches of the Royal British Legion and clubs with political affiliations”.

The Licensing Authority may only refuse an application on the grounds that:

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

There is also a ‘fast-track’ procedure available under the Act for premises which hold a Club Premises Certificate under the Licensing Act 2003 (Schedule 12 paragraph 10). Commercial clubs cannot hold a club premises certificate under the Licensing act 2003 and so cannot use the fast-track procedure. As the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Licensing 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:

(a) that the club is established primarily for gaming, other than gaming prescribed under schedule 12;

(b)  that in addition to the prescribed gaming, the applicant  provides facilities for other gaming; or

(c)  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 B 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.

Prize Gaming Permits

The Gambling Act 2005 states that a Licensing Authority may prepare a policy that they propose to apply in exercising their functions under this Schedule” which “may, in particular, specify matters that the Licensing Authority propose to consider in determining the suitability of the applicant for a permit.

The Licensing Authority has prepared a policy, which is that the applicant should set out the types of gaming that he or she is intending to offer, and that the applicant should be able to demonstrate:-

  • that they understand the limits to stakes and prizes that are set out in Regulations;
  • that the gaming offered is within the law;
  • clear policies that outline the steps to be taken to protect children from harm.

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

It should be noted that the Gambling Act 2005 sets down conditions that the permit holder must comply with.  These conditions are:

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

The Licensing Authority cannot however attach additional conditions to prize gaming permits.

Temporary Use Notices

Temporary Use Notices allow the use of premises for gambling where there is no premises licence but where a gambling operator wishes to use the premises temporarily for providing facilities for gambling.  Premises that might be suitable for a Temporary Use Notice, according to the Gambling Commission, would include hotels, conference centres and sporting venues.

The Licensing Authority can only grant a Temporary Use Notice to a person or company holding a relevant operating licence, i.e. a non-remote casino operating licence.

The Secretary of State has the power to determine what form of gambling can be authorised by Temporary Use Notices, and at the time of writing this Statement the relevant regulations (Sl no. 3157: The Gambling Act 2005 (Temporary Use Notices) Regulations 2007) state that Temporary Use Notices can only be used to permit the provision of facilities for equal chance gaming, where the gaming is intended to produce a single winner, which in practice means poker tournaments.

There are a number of statutory limits as regards temporary use notices.  Gambling Commission Guidance is noted that the meaning of “premises” in part 8 of the Act is discussed in Part 7 of the guidance.  As with “premises”, the definition of “a set of premises” will be a question of fact in the particular circumstances of each notice that is given.  In the Act “premises” is defined as including “any place”. In considering whether a place falls within the definition of “a set of premises”, licensing authorities will need to look at, amongst other things, the ownership/occupation and control of the premises.

The Licensing Authority is likely to object to notices where it appears that their effect would be to permit regular gambling in a place that could be described as one set of premises.

Occasional Use Notices

The Licensing Authority has very little discretion as regards these notices aside from ensuring that the statutory limit of 8 days in a calendar year is not exceeded.  The Licensing Authority will, consider the definition of a ‘track’ and whether the applicant is permitted to avail him/herself of the notice.

Small Society Lotteries

The Licensing Authority will adopt a risk based approach towards its enforcement responsibilities for small society lotteries. This authority considers that the following list, although not exclusive, could affect the risk status of the operator:

  • Submission of late returns (returns must be submitted no later than three months after the date on which the lottery draw was held)
  • Submission of incomplete or incorrect returns
  • Breaches of the limits for small society lotteries

Non-commercial gaming is permitted if it takes place at non- commercial event, either as an incidental or principal activity at the event. Events are non-commercial if no part of the proceeds is for private profit or gain. The proceeds of such events may benefit one or more individuals if the activity is organised:

  • By, or on behalf of, a charity or for charitable purposes.
  • To enable participation in, or support of, sporting, athletic or cultural activities.