New gambling licensing policy adopted

Buckinghamshire Council has adopted a new policy that sets out how it will consider applications and issues relating to gambling licensing. Under the Gambling Act 2005, the new Statement of Licensing Policy for Buckinghamshire replaces those that were previously being used by the former district councils.

The new policy sets out how the Council will consider applications for licences for premises where gambling activities take place such as betting shops and bingo halls. Permits are also issued under the Act for gaming machines and gambling in members clubs. Small-scale charitable lotteries must also be registered before raffles can take place. The policy additionally explains the Council’s approach to dealing with concerns about gambling activities or problems at existing licensed premises.

The law requires that the Council produces and publishes this policy at least every three years and is prescriptive in terms of the information to be included. Before the policy was approved, the Council consulted with a wide range of people and organisations who might be affected by it, including the police, licence holders, members of the public and residents’ associations. All of the comments received were considered and some changes were made to the final policy as a result.

The policy includes elements that reflect how licensing can support the Council’s core aims of strengthening our communities, improving our environment, protecting the vulnerable and increasing prosperity. Applications for permanent licences, and any significant changes to current licences must be advertised at the premises and on the Council’s website. As part of their application, applicants are required to produce locally-based risk assessments to address any likely problems which may arise at their premises and the steps they intend to take to protect vulnerable people. In order to assist operators with the production of risk assessments, the Council has produced a Local Area Profile which provides relevant information about issues which may affect the likely risks of gambling activity in a specific area, such as the location of schools.

Anyone who might be affected by the proposed activities can object if they think that any of the licensing objectives are likely to be undermined. Existing licences can also be reviewed where there is evidence of a problem. The objectives are: Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime; ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way and protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

Nick Naylor, Cabinet Member for Housing, Homelessness and Regulatory Services said: “This new policy ties together the workings of the previous district councils and introduces new elements, reflecting legislative updates and also comments made by those who took part in our consultation. Thank you to everyone who contributed and helped us to shape this final policy. We hope it will bring clarity and confidence to all those who deal with licensing issues, from those applying for licences to anyone who may be affected by a licensing issue.”

The policy is kept under review and it can be amended following consultation to deal with any local changes or because of new law.

Further information about the areas covered by the policy and the policy itself, are available on our website. Should you have any questions about gambling licence applications or issues raised by the policy please contact: