1. The Legal Framework and Licensing Objectives

1.1 The Gambling Act 2005 ("the 2005 Act") places a legal duty on both the Gambling Commission ("Commission") and licensing authorities to aim to permit gambling, in so far as it is considered to be reasonably consistent with the pursuit of the licensing objectives.

The effect of this duty is that both the Commission and licensing authorities must approach their functions in a way that seeks to regulate gambling by using their powers to moderate its impact on the licensing objectives rather than by starting out to prevent it altogether.

We are required by the 2005 Act to publish a Statement of Principles (commonly known as a policy statement) which they propose to apply when exercising their functions.

1.2 The licensing objectives are:

  • Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime and disorder or being used to support crime;
  • Ensuring gambling is conducted in a fair and open way; and
  • Protecting children and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling

It should be noted that the Commission has stated:

"the requirement in relation to children is explicitly to protect them from being harmed or exploited by gambling".

1.3 Preston City Council ("Council") is the licensing authority for the City of Preston. It is aware that it has a duty to aim to permit the use of premises for gambling in so far as it thinks fit:

  • In accordance with any relevant code of practice issued by the Commission
  • In accordance with any relevant guidance issued by the Commission
  • Reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives; and
  • In accordance with this Statement of Principles ("Policy").

1.4 The Commission has provisions within its social responsibility code within the Licence Conditions and Code of Practice (LCCP) which require gambling operators to assess the local risks to the licensing objectives posed by the provision of gambling facilities at each of their premises, and to have policies, procedures and control measures to mitigate those risks.

This code intends to provide a well evidenced and transparent approach to considering and implementing measures to address the risks associated with gambling.

Licence holders must also take into account relevant matters included in this Policy.

1.5 Licence holders must review (and update as necessary) their local risk assessments:

  • To take account of significant changes in local circumstances, including any identified in this Policy
  • When there are significant changes at a licence holders' premises that may affect their mitigation of local risks
  • When applying for a variation of a premises licence and
  • In any case, undertake a local risk assessment when applying for a new premises licence.

2. Preston's Profile

2.1 Please refer to Preston's Local Authority Profile published by Lancashire County Council.

3. Policy Statement Background

3.1 This Policy must be published at least every three years. It must also be reviewed from "time to time" and any amended parts re-consulted upon and then re-published.

3.2 This Policy is our mandate for managing local gambling provision and sets out how we view the local risk environment and therefore our expectations in relation to operators with premises in Preston.

3.3 Whilst this Council does not currently have a Local Area Profile as referenced in the Commission's Guidance to Local Authorities, nonetheless its clear priority is to ensure that children and vulnerable persons are not harmed by gambling.

To this end we expect applicants to research and understand the local environment in which they wish to operate and to demonstrate that they have effective and robust measures in place to promote the licensing objectives and mitigate any risks related to it. We will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action where this does not appear to be the case.

3.4 In determining this policy regard was given to the licensing objectives, the 5th edition of the Guidance to Licensing Authorities and any responses received from those consulted on the draft statement.

3.5 The 2005 Act requires that the following parties are to be consulted by licensing authorities:

  • Police;
  • One or more persons who appear to us to represent the interests of persons carrying on gambling businesses in Preston; and
  • One or more persons who appear to us to represent the interests of persons who are likely to be affected by the exercise of our functions under the 2005 Act.

Public consultation was undertaken via the local media, our website and social media.  A list of those consulted is attached at Appendix 1.

3.6 The revised policy was approved at a meeting of the Full Council on 13 December 2018 and became effective on 29 January 2019 following a period of four weeks after it's advertisement via our website and a local newspaper.

Copies are available at the Town Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston, PR1 2RL.

Should you have any comments as regards this policy please send them by email or letter to the following contact:

  • Licensing Services, Environmental Health Department, Preston City Council, Town Hall Lancaster Road, Preston, PR1 2RL
  • Email: licensing@preston.gov.uk

It should be noted that this policy will not override the right of any person to make an application, make representations about an application, or apply for a review of a licence as each will be considered on its own merits and according to the statutory requirements of the 2005 Act.

4. Licensing Authority Functions

4.1 The Policy covers the following functions:

  • Granting of Premises Licences for places that provide gambling activities;
  • Issuing of Provisional Statements for proposed gambling activity premises;
  • Granting of Club Gaming permits and/or Club Machine permits to members' clubs;
  • Issuing Club Machine permits to commercial clubs;
  • Granting of permits for the use of certain lower stake gaming machines at unlicensed Family Entertainment Centres;
  • Receive Notifications from alcohol licensed premises for the use of two or less gaming machines;
  • Issue Licensed Premises Gaming machine permits to those alcohol licensed premises who wish to provide more than two gaming machines;
  • Register Small Society Lotteries;
  • Issue Prize Gaming permits;
  • Receive and endorse Temporary Use Notices;
  • Receive Occasional Use Notices;
  • Provide information to the Gambling Commission; and
  • Maintain registers of the permits and licences issued under these functions.

4.2 Local licensing authorities are not involved in the regulation remote gambling. This is undertaken by the Commission.

4.3 The provisions of the 2005 Act delegates all decisions relating to Premises Licences, Temporary Use Notices, Occasional Use Notices and the issuing of permits for gaming machines and prize gaming to the Licensing Committee of the Council.

This Committee is responsible for the discharge by the Council of the licensing functions under the 2005 Act.

4.4 In order to provide a speedy, efficient and cost effective service and in accordance with the 2005 Act, the Committee has delegated decisions and functions to a number of Sub-Committees to deal with them as detailed in this statement.

Further, due to the fact that most decisions and functions are administrative in nature, the grant of non-contentious applications, including those where no representations have been made, are delegated to officers.

4.5 In accordance with the 2005 Act and the Commission's Guidance the Council will:

  • Refer adoption of this three year Policy to Full Council
  • Exercise any delegated power under Regulations to set fees in consultation with the appropriate Cabinet member
  • Delegate any decisions where valid representations are received to premises licence applications to the Licensing Committee
  • Invite the Licensing Committee to further delegate decision making to a Licensing Sub-Committee.

4.6 The following table shows how the Council will deal with matters under the 2005 Act:

Matter to be dealt withLicensing Sub-Committee HearingDirector of Development
Fee setting The Director of Development sets the fees
Application for premises licenceIf a relevant representation madeIf no relevant representation made
Application for provisional statementIf a relevant representation madeIf no relevant representation made
Application to vary premises licenceIf a relevant representation madeIf no relevant representation made
Application for transfer of premises licenceIf a police objectionAll other cases
Application for interim authority noticeIf a police objectionAll other cases
Application to review premises licenceReviewed by the Licensing Sub-Committee hearing 
Decision as Responsible Authority to call for a review of a premises licence The Director of Development calls for a review of a premises licence
Director of Development permitIf a relevant representation madeIf no relevant representation made
Cancellation of club gaming/club machine permitsIf requested by holderIf no request received
Applications for other permits The Director of Development
Cancellation of licensed premises gaming machine permitsIf requested by the holderIf no request received
Consideration of a temporary use notice The Director of Development
Decision to give a counter notice to a temporary use noticeIf a relevant representation madeIf no relevant representation made
Decision on whether a complaint is irrelevant, vexatious, frivolous etc The Director of Development

5. Licensing Process

5.1 Making an application

5.1.1 The procedure and documentation requirements for making applications is prescribed by the 2005 Act and Regulations and further advice on how to make an application can be found on our website or on request by emailing licensing@preston.gov.uk or calling 01772 906911.

5.1.2 This Policy sets out the Council's expectations with regard to applications in a number of licensing statements. Whilst applicants are not obliged to meet these expectations in full it is more likely that responsible authorities and other persons will make representations if they are not.

5.1.3 The Council recognises that licensed premises vary considerably in terms of what activities they provide; their size; and their location and, therefore, there is no definitive list of control measures that can be applied to all licensed premises.

5.1.4 Applicants are encouraged to seek advice from the Council and appropriate responsible authorities prior to submitting an application for a premises licence.

5.2 Responsible Authorities and Interested Parties

5.2.1 The 2005 Act sets out two categories of organizations and individuals namely responsible authorities and interested parties who may make representations about premises licence applications, or apply for a review of an existing premises licence.

5.2.2 The Council has designated the Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board as the competent body to advise it about the protection of children from harm.

5.2.3 The contact details of the responsible authorities can be found on the transferring a Gambling Premises Licence page.

5.2.4 Interested parties can make representations about licence applications or apply for a review of an existing licence. Section 158 of the 2005 Act defines interested parties as persons who, in our opinion:-

a) Live sufficiently close to the premises to be likely affected by the authorised activities

b) Have business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities

c) Represent persons who satisfy a) or b) above.

5.2.5 In deciding whether a person is an interested party with regard to a particular premises, will be on a case by case basis and factors such as the size of the premises and the nature of the activities taking place will be relevant considerations.

5.2.6 In respect of those persons living sufficiently close to premises to be affected by it or have business interests, that may be affected by it, the Council will accept the inclusion of trade associations, trade unions, residents' and tenants associations and in respect of business interests the addition of partnerships, charities, faith groups and medical practices.

5.2.7 Interested parties can also be persons who are democratically elected such as councillors and MP's. No specific evidence of being asked to represent an interested person will be required as long as the councillor or MP represents the ward or constituency likely to be affected.

Likewise, parish councils likely to be affected will be considered to be interested parties. Other than these, however, we will generally require written evidence that a person/body represents someone who either lives sufficiently close to the premises to be likely to be affected by the authorised activities and/or has business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities.

A letter from one of these persons, requesting the representation is sufficient.

5.2.8 If individuals wish to approach councillors to ask them to represent their views then care should be taken that the councillors are not part of the Licensing Sub-Committee dealing with the licence application.

5.2.9 It is important to note that in order for a representation to be considered as relevant, interested parties are required to demonstrate that granting a licence would undermine one or more of the three licensing objectives under the Gambling Act 2005.

5.3 Exchange of Information

5.3.1 In respect of the exchange of information between ourselves and the Gambling Commission, and the functions under section 350 of the Act with respect to the exchange of information between ourselves and other persons listed in Schedule 6 to the Act we will conform to the requirements of Data Protection and Freedom of Information legislation in line with the Council's existing policies.

5.3.2 We will have regard to any Guidance issued by the Gambling Commission on this matter, as well as any relevant regulations issued by the Secretary of State under the powers provided in the 2005 Act.

5.3.3 Should any protocols be established as regards information exchange with other bodies then they will be made available.

5.4 Enforcement

5.4.1 We are required by regulation under the 2005 Act to state the principles to be applied by the Council in exercising the functions under Part 15 of the Act with respect to the inspection of premises; and the powers under section 346 of the Act to institute criminal proceedings in respect of the offences specified.

These are outlined in the following paragraphs of this section.

5.4.2 We will work closely with the responsible authorities with the aim to promote the licensing objectives by targeting known high risk premises following government guidance around better regulation.

5.4.3 In carrying out our enforcement duties with regards to the inspection of premises and the power to institute criminal proceedings in respect of specified offences under the 2005 Act, we will be guided by the Commission's Guidance to Licensing Authorities and will endeavour to be:

  • Proportionate: the Council will intervene when it is deemed necessary, and remedies will be appropriate having regard to the risk posed: costs will be identified and minimised.
  • Accountable: the Council will ensure that it can justify decisions, and be subject to public scrutiny.
  • Consistent: the Council will endeavour to ensure that rules and standards are 'joined up' and implemented fairly.
  • Transparent: the Council will be open, and will endeavour to present regulations in a simple and user friendly way.
  • Targeted: the Council will endeavour to focus on the problem, and minimise side effects.

5.4.4 As recommended by the Commission's Guidance to Licensing Authorities we will endeavour to avoid duplication with other regulatory regimes as far as possible.

5.4.5 It is our intention to implement a revised risk-based inspection programme, based on:

  • the licensing objectives
  • relevant codes of practice
  • the Commission's 'Guidance to licensing authorities', in particular Part 36
  • the principles set out in this Policy
  • Government's Enforcement Concordat and Compliance Code

5.4.6 This may include test purchasing activities to measure the compliance of licensed operators with aspects of the 2005 Act. When undertaking test purchasing activities, this Council will liaise with the Commission and the operator to determine what other, if any, test purchasing schemes may already be in place.

Irrespective of the actions of an operator on their overall estate, test purchasing may be deemed to be an appropriate course of action.

5.4.7 The main enforcement and compliance role for us as the licensing authority in terms of the 2005 Act is to ensure compliance with the premises licences and other permissions which we authorise.

The Commission is the enforcement body for operating and personal licences. Concerns about the manufacture, supply or repair of gaming machines are not dealt with by ourselves but should be notified to the Commission

5.4.8. We will keep ourselves informed of developments as regards the work of the Better Regulation Executive in its consideration of the regulatory functions of local authorities.