The Gambling Commission has notified the trade of its continued tough line on operators who attempt to increase the number of gaming machines on their premises, either by splitting their premises or by applying for a license for which they have no intention of operating the primary activity of the license.
In a letter to a number of trade bodies, the Commission warns that since it published a supplement to its License Conditions and Codes of Practice in May last year, it has made what it calls targeted representations against a number of premises license applications where it has perceived operators have overstepped the mark laid down in the supplementary code.
In particular, the Commission’s letter mentions:
… [a] proposal to split what had been one betting premises into two betting premises and another which proposed to change the premises license in a building which contained two adult gaming centres into a betting premises and an adult gaming centre.
The supplementary code makes it clear what factors should be evident to show that operators are providing the primary gambling activity under the premises license and the Commission has signalled it is working with LACORS and local authorities in making representations.
In the eighteen cases it has made representations, each application has been withdrawn. This issue is clearly not yet settled. If you have any plans to split your licensed premises then you should consult a specialist betting and gaming licensing solicitor. The Gambling Commission or your local Licensing Authority (the local council) may also be able to assist you.
Maitland Walker LLP