The Executive Director of Neighbourhoods and Communities submitted a report updating on the results of a statutory public consultation on the Gambling Act 2005 Licensing Policy Statement, and to seek comments from the Executive before the Report was presented to full Council.
The Gambling Act 2005 gave powers and responsibilities to licensing authorities to issue licences for gambling premises. This legislation came into full effect on September 2007 and effectively modernised gambling legislation, providing an improved structure for gambling regulation.
The Act also created a new independent regulatory body; The Gambling Commission. The Gambling Commission regulates operators and deals with national gambling issues.
The Act contained three licensing objectives underpinning the function that the Gambling Commission and local authorities would perform. Those objectives are outlined within the report.
The Act provided for three types of licences. Operating and Personal licences which were issued by the Gambling Commission. Premises Licences were issued by the Council and they authorised the provision of gambling facilities on certain premises including casino premises, bingo premises, betting premises, adult gaming centres and family entertainment centres. Councils could attach conditions to premises licences.
The Council as a licensing authority was required to prepare and publish a Gambling Act 2005: Licensing Policy Statement of Principles that it proposed to apply in exercising its functions under the Act. In December 2006, the Council formally ratified its first Statement of Gambling Licensing Policy. The Policy was again reviewed in 2009, reflecting changes as a result of the Council being approved as one of the Local Authorities permitted to issue a Large Casino Premise Licence. This Policy was formally ratified by the Council on 2 December 2009.
The Licensing Authority was required to keep their Gambling Policy under review and was required as a minimum to review it every three years, or sooner if the authority considered it to be necessary. This authority was required to review its current policy by 31 January 2013. A draft amended Policy was prepared by Officers for consultation. There were no significant amendments proposed to the draft Policy which was prepared for consultation other than some amendments to the wording, which is outlined in further detail within the report.
Further details of the below changes to the draft amended Policy was outlined within the report.
The Casino Application Process
Proposed Amendments to the Gambling Commissions Guidance to Local Authorities
Primary Gambling Activity on Betting Premises
Amendments to contact addresses for Responsible Authorities
In line with Gambling Act, 2005, Licensing Authorities were required to review their Gambling Policy every three years. The current Policy was implemented in 31 January 2010, and therefore, must be reviewed and published by 31 January 2013.
The process for reviewing the Gambling Act Policy was set down in the Gambling Act and associated Guidance. Failure to follow this process may leave the Council open to future legal challenges against its policy.
That the responses to the consultation on the contents of the Draft Licensing Policy Statement of Principles be noted; and
The attached draft Licensing Policy Statement of Principles prior to the Policy going to full Council, subject to any views expressed by the Executive be endorsed.
The decision was supported by the following reasons:
In order to comply with the Gambling Act 2005 and relevant Guidance, the Councils Licensing Policy Statement of Principles had to be reviewed and published by 31st January 2010 as a statutory requirement. The Gambling Act 2005 had a requirement for the Licensing Authoritys Gambling Act Policy: Statement of Principles to be approved by full Council.
The Policy was required to provide consistency and transparency for all person wishing to apply for a licence or permit, including the new style casino licence for which Middlesbrough had been short-listed.