Sydney Mitchell can provide you with gambling law services to help you deal with the impact of the Gambling Act 2005 that came into force fully in late 2007.

The Act brought wholesale changes in how gambling is licensed in Great Britain. The Licensing regime is now controlled by the Local Authorities and there are new responsibilities for the Police and everyone in the industry.

Everyone involved in any way with Gaming – from the top level Casino operators through racecourses, bookmakers, bingo halls, high street amusement arcades, and alcohol licensed premises with gaming machines, members and social clubs, to the humble chip shop and taxi officer has been affected in some way by the legislation.

The impact though does not end with those who you consider to be ‘front line’ in the gaming industry. Also affected are charities and others with lottery licenses and a wide range of suppliers to gambling industry including those involved in the repair and installation of gaming machines and gambling equipment.

At Sydney Mitchell we now have a developed expertise in this area of law and our Licensing team is well known in these areas.

Apart supplying general advice to clients we have experience in -

  • Applications for Operating Licences
  • Personal Licences
  • Premises Licences
  • Permits for all types of premises and lotteries
  • Gaming Machines
  • All supporting work including preparing supporting codes

Who can we help?

The Act has a very broad impact we can help anyone who is affected by the Act including :

  • Any individuals or businesses directly involved in gaming including casinos, bingo halls, amusement arcades, bookmakers
  • Suppliers to the gaming industry including anyone involved in the manufacture, installation, repair or sale of gaming machines
  • Pubs, Clubs, restaurants any premises with gaming machines or involved in the sale or supply of alcohol
  • Charities and others looking to raise funds by raffles, lotteries etc

 

The Gambling Act 2005

The Gambling Act introduced a 4-tier system of licensing.

Operating Licences and Personal Licences are now issued by a new Regulator – the Gambling Commission. The Act created this body who took over from the Gaming Board in 2005. Based within 200 yards of our offices in Birmingham this Commission has taken on enormous responsibilities and powers.

The issue of Premises Licences, temporary use licences and permits are all controlled by the Local Licensing Authority. This is the same body who are responsible for licensing premises under the Licensing Act 2003.

The decisions of both the Gambling Commission and the Local Licensing Authority are all made with consideration of three new licensing objectives.

  • Preventing gambling from being a source of crime and disorder
  • Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • Protecting children and the vulnerable from being exploited or harmed by gambling.

The Act has had a major impacts on everyone involved in the industry and local authorities.

As detailed above, Local Licensing Authorities have new powers to issue premises licences, permits and Temporary and Occasional Use Notices. They are also obliged to prepare a local Statement of Licensing Policy, passed by the whole Council, setting out how it intends to exercise its functions and the principles it will apply to applications.

Premises with alcohol licences under the Licensing Act, including pubs and social clubs have a particular set of rules to follow. They need to take steps to ensure they retain the right to their existing gaming machines in the period following the Act coming into force. Ignoring these requirements could result in the loss of their machines. There are also extensive new regulations as to the control of access to machines, siting and signage.

Individuals involved in the gambling industry may well find they need to apply for the new style Personal Licence from the Gambling Commission. There will be requirements under the terms of Operating Licences that certain persons holding management posts will have to hold a Personal licence. Criminal record checks are necessary and event spent convictions are relevant to the issue of a licence.

The forms and procedure for applying for Operating and Premises licences are highly complex and applicants can find themselves unable to trade if the applications are wrongly submitted. We strongly recommend that if you are involved in this area that you call us to review your position and check your licences for you.

For comprehensive training and advice on the Gambling Act and how this may affect you and your business, contact us today

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