Licensing authority bulletin
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June 2022

Welcome to June's edition of Licensing Authority Bulletin. 
In this month's edition: 
  • Annual returns
  • HMRC contact details 
  • Barnsley Council and their approach to tackling gambling harms 
  • "Robust" council policy statement supports licencing work in bowling alleys in Shrewsbury
  • Improving our statistics gambling participation and prevalence 
  • OUNs and TUNs - what is the difference? 
  • Prize competitions and free draws 
  • Gambling harms course delivered for online professionals 
  • Illegal lotteries - a recent case 
Annual returns 

As detailed in our last Bulletin, the Annual Returns are now due to be submitted. Many thanks to all the LAs who have now submitted. We have obtained relevant agreements to reduce the data points by 35% and request that anyone who has not yet submitted do so as a matter of priority. The inbox to send your annual return is Local Authorities Returns

HMRC Contact Details

We have been asked to update you on contact details for HMRC. As you will be aware they are a Responsible Authority on the face of the Act.
Their new contact details are:

Barnsley Council and their approach to tackling Gambling Harms
Senior Public Health Officer, Christus Ferneyhough tells us how Barnsley Council are looking to take steps to tackle gambling harms: 
“It is becoming increasingly well recognised that problem gambling is a public health issue associated with harms to individuals, their families, their friends, and wider society. However, due to the lack of local, regional and national data and the complexity of quantifying the metric of ‘gambling related harm’, it is often less understood in comparison to other public health issues such as smoking, obesity, or alcohol misuse.
“As such, Barnsley Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee recently established a Gambling Task and Finish Group (TFG) to investigate gambling related harm in Barnsley. This included considering the key challenges around gambling and gambling related harm; the support services available in the borough and beyond; and what the future plans are in terms of this agenda.
“The TFG met with Public Health, Licencing Officers, local agencies and organisations, the NHS, national charities, and service providers. As a result of their investigations, the TFG have developed 12 recommendations to support further improvement on this agenda.  These recommendations will be a catalyst for action in Barnsley, with a focus on improving our understanding of the prevalence and degree of gambling, problem gambling and gambling related harm, raising awareness more broadly, maintaining regulation, and improving access to services.”
For more information you can contact Christus at:
‘Robust’ Council Policy Statement supports licencing work in bowling alleys in Shrewsbury
Shropshire Council Public Protection Officer, Nikki Kelly, explains how the Council’s Gambling Act 2005 Policy Statement and the Gambling Commission’s Codes of Practice helped them get the right result.
Recent joint working between Shropshire Council and the Gambling Commission demonstrated how the content of the Council’s Gambling Act 2005 Policy Statement, together with the Gambling Commission’s Codes of Practice, were key to ensuring a bowling company’s activities under its Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permit did not undermine the licensing objectives set out in the Gambling Act 2005. 
The bowling alley sought to vary their Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permit in order to bring their Shropshire premises in line with the offerings available at their other premises operating across the UK. 
The variation itself requested 35 category D and 10 category C gaming machines, far in excess of the number that would ordinarily be expected under any Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permit.  The Gambling Act 2005 offers no cap for the number of machines that can be held under such a Permit and any decision not to allow the variation, as applied for by the company, was heavily reliant on the position adopted within the Council’s Policy Statement and the requirements of the Commission’s Codes of Practice.  As the bowling alley was not the ‘usual’ type of premises subject to a Premises Licence Gaming Machine Permit, the officer involved in the case, having considered the licensing objectives under the Gambling Act 2005, together with the principles set out by Council’s Policy Statement and the Commission’s Codes of Practice, was extremely concerned that the number of machines requested as part of the variation to the Permit was in fact excessive.
As a result, a full inspection of the company’s premises was undertaken, together with a thorough review of the company’s policies and training programmes.  This led officers to conclude that it was necessary that the number of Category C gaming machines should be reduced.  A variation permit was issued for 5 category C gaming machines. The decision was largely made possible by the robust nature of the Council’s Gambling Act 2005 Policy Statement and the Gambling Commission’s Codes of Practice.
In summary, the officer involved, with backing from the Commission, sought to ensure that the company’s policies and training programmes were up to date and that the gambling activities undertaken at the bowling premises in Shrewsbury did not undermine the fundamental principles enshrined in the three licencing objectives that are set out in the Gambling Act 2005.

For more information you can contact Nikki at:
Improving our statistics: Gambling participation and prevalence
Here at the Gambling Commission, we have reached a significant milestone in our project to improve the way we collect data on adult gambling participation and prevalence of those who experience difficulties or harms through their gambling.  You can read more about it in our blog.
OUNs and TUNs – what is the difference?
The Commission has recently received an increase in queries relating to these two types of permissions.  
OUNs are designed for what is called Point to Point racing. This is horse racing away from a normal racing track like Cheltenham or Aintree. The Act permits betting at these events by a licensed bookmaker with the appropriate licenses added such as a remote one.  We have worked with LAs previously in relation to the misuse of OUNs.  It is the responsibility of the Operator Licence (OL) holder to apply for an OUN.   More details can be found on our website.
TUNs are normally for poker tournaments – over a few days at a hotel or a similar venue. The organiser must hold an OL. The notification must be 3 months and one day in advance of the event. There are a number of other restrictions as to using a TUN. It is the responsibility of the Operator to apply for a TUN. Further details can be found on our website.
Prize competitions and free draws
The Commission regularly receives enquiries about prize competitions and free draws. Sometimes the enquiry is from a member of the public and more recently a number of LAs have raised concerns. They are very often advertised over social media and may in addition give the impression that they are similar to a lottery in that some money goes to a charity. They are both, in fact, run for private profit and, if set up properly, are legal under the current Act.  For full details please see our advice.  Although legal, the Commission does not regulate prize competitions or free draws, consumers don’t have the same level of protection as products offered under a lottery operating licence.
Gambling Harms course delivered online for professionals  
The Royal Society for Public Health has recently established a course which provides advice on how to identify gambling harms and the resources available. It is particularly suited to front line staff such as housing workers, benefits staff and others who may be working with those at greatest risk of gambling harm.  
Illegal lotteries - a recent case
Economic Crime Officers, with the assistance of colleagues from the Gambling Commission, worked to ensure a man had to surrender tens of thousands of pounds. In July 2020, an investigation began into a 27-year-old man from Middlesbrough as he was suspected of running illegal lotteries from his Facebook page. The man was running a substantial amount of lottery style services including ‘bonus balls’ and ‘raffles’ for his own personal gain with thousands of transactions going through his bank accounts. These types of lotteries are the preserve of charities and other ‘good causes’ and cannot be run for private or commercial gain unless they qualify as one of the ‘exempt’ class of lotteries in the Gambling Act 2005. For further details see this Cleveland Police post on social media
Useful links and resources

Some quick guides are designed to give to operators when undertaking visits, others provide an accessible ‘how to’ for licensing staff: 

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