Agenda item

The Gambling Act 2005 - Draft Statement of Licensing Policy (Gambling) 2022 - 2025

To seek approval for the initial proposals for the Draft Statement of Licensing Policy (Gambling) 2022-2025.


Cabinet received a report seeking approval for the initial proposals of the Draft Statement of Licensing Policy (Gambling) 2022-2025.


Each local authority was required by the Gambling Act 2005 to publish a Statement of Licensing Policy and to revise the Policy at least every three years. The report detailed the revision process and provided guidance as to how the Authority would exercise its functions under the Act. The revised Policy had to be in force by 31 January 2022 when the existing Policy would expire. Under the Act, the Authority as a licensing authority was responsible for issuing Premises Licences and Permits.


Premises Licences were specific to the type of premises offering gambling to the public and included Casino Premises; Bingo Premises; Adult Gaming Centre Premises; Family Entertainment Centre Premises; and Betting Premises.


The Authority did not have the authority from the Secretary of State to issue Casino Premises Licences. Section 175 of the Act limited the overall numbers of types of casinos that would be permitted in Great Britain and, until such time as the current limit on the number of casinos was increased, no further Casino Premises Licences would be issued.


In terms of Permits, the Authority as a licensing authority could issue Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centre Gaming Machine Permits; Club Gaming Permits; Club Gaming Machine Permits; Alcohol Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permits; and Prize Gaming Permits.


Section 153 of the Act set out the principles to be applied by the Authority when considering an application for a Premises Licence; and emphasised the importance of the Authority’s Statement of Licensing Policy (Gambling) in determining any application for a Premises Licence made to the Authority as a licensing authority. 


The draft revised Policy, attached as Appendix 1 to the report, contained the information that the Gambling Act 2005 (Licensing Authority Policy Statement) (England and Wales) Regulations 2006 had prescribed should be included in the Policy document, as referred to in the report.


Council on 22 November 2018 had passed a ‘no casino’ resolution which meant that the Authority would not grant any Casino Premises Licences in the Borough if it was given the power to do so. This resolution remained in place for the duration of the Policy, even if the number of national Casino licences increased as indicated in the report. The decision whether or not to pass a further ‘no casino’ resolution would form part of the consultation process concerning the revision of the Licensing Policy.  If Council passed a ‘no casino’ resolution, then it would bind the Authority for a further three years (unless another resolution was passed in the interim) and would prohibit the Authority from issuing Casino Premises Licences in that period.


In preparing the draft revised Policy document, regard had been given to the Gambling Commission’s statutory guidance and the Regulations issued in order to assist licensing authorities in the preparation of their Policy statements.  The draft revised Policy statement included reference to the new Council Plan and included additional information in relation to those individuals or businesses seeking to apply for a permit.  It also emphasised the requirement to have regard to the public sector equality duty when formulating a Policy or making decisions in relation to individual applications.


The draft revised Policy statement would be subject to a six-week period of public consultation that would commence on 5 July 2021. This was considered an appropriate period of time to consult on this Policy document.  A list of consultees would appear in the Policy document. All consultees would be given the opportunity of providing feedback and comments on the draft Policy.  The draft revised Policy statement, once approved, must be published at least 4 weeks before it came into effect (31 January 2022) and be available for inspection on the Authority’s website, public libraries and Quadrant.


Before the Policy came into effect the Authority also had to advertise the publication of the Policy statement by publishing a public notice on the Authority’s website and in a local newspaper indicating when the Policy would be published and when it would come into effect.


The Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection thanked officers for the comprehensive report, particularly the work done during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Cabinet considered the following decision options: either to endorse the initial proposals for the draft revised Policy statement attached at Appendix 1 to the report, and approve the commencement of the consultation exercise, or alternatively not endorse the initial proposals for the draft revised Policy statement and approve the commencement of the consultation exercise.


Resolved that the initial proposals for the draft Statement of Licensing Policy (Gambling) 2022-2025, attached at Appendix 1 to the report, be approved and the consultation exercise commence.


(Reason for decision – The revised draft Policy has been developed by an Officer Working Group.  The Policy contains the information required by legislation and the Gambling Commission.  It will be subject to extensive consultation involving, in addition to members of the public, those involved in the gambling trade, all North Tyneside MPs and Councillors). 


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