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Agenda item

Gambling Act 2005 - Review of Statement of Licensing Policy.


Lee Morgan (Licensing Manager) presented the report, which informed Members of the result of consultation carried out to review the Statement of Gambling Licensing Policy, and sought the views of Members prior to its presentation to Council on 26th January 2022.


Members were advised that in accordance with the Gambling Act 2005, the Licensing Authorities must prepare, consult upon and approve a Statement of Gambling Licensing Policy that must be reviewed every three years. The current Policy was approved by Council and published in January 2019.  The policy must contain objectives regarding the prevention of gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime and 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.


It was noted that the Policy has been reviewed and a consultation exercise undertaken with relevant bodies (for example the Police and the Gambling Commission), individuals, residents and businesses throughout the borough between 8th October 2021 and 8th November 2021.


Members were advised that 2 responses were received during the consultation period, which were summarised in Section 5.5 of the report.  The first response was from Gamble Aware, who acknowledged receipt of consultation and the ability to comment on the Council’s policy. Within their response, they encouraged local authorities to signpost people to the National Gambling helpline and its website in relation to offering support as part of the National Gambling Service. As a result of this feedback, the contact details for Gamble Aware will be added to the information section within the updated Statement of Gambling Licensing Policy.  The second response was received anonymously from a resident which stated that “Too many licenses granted for too many events with insufficient staff to check and monitor”.  However, no other information was provided in order to clarify the context of the comments and so Licensing Officers are unable to explore this response further.


The Licensing Manager also outlined the main amendments proposed for the Policy which were reflected as track changes in the revised Statement of Gambling Licensing Policy (attached as Appendix 1 to the report). The main body of the policy remains generally unchanged, apart from updated contact details for Responsible Authorities and revised dates for consultation, publication etc.  The main change relates to Annex 7 (Mandatory, Default and Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Pool of Model Conditions for Gambling Premises Licences).  Previous versions of the policy included the mandatory and default conditions but not the Caerphilly CBC Pool of Model conditions.  The pool of model conditions will assist gambling operators, responsible authorities and interested parties when considering conditions to deal with specific issues and concerns.  These conditions will also encourage a consistent approach to the drafting and imposition of conditions on premises licences.


The Committee were advised that the existing Statement has been effective and continues to achieve its aims.  Officers are aware that UK Government are undertaking a review of the effectiveness of the Gambling Act 2005 and a White Paper is expected before the end of the year which may lead to legislative changes. This may require a more comprehensive review of the statement of Licensing Policy in the near future. Officers will continue to monitor the UK Government review of the Gambling Act 2005 and if required address any legislative changes brought about from any review.


The Committee were therefore asked to endorse the revised Statement of Gambling Licensing Policy appended to the report and offer any comment prior to its presentation to full Council for approval in January 2022.


During the course of the ensuing debate, a Member sought clarification on the anonymous consultation response and asked if Licensing had enough staff to be able to deal with the number of one-off licences issued.  The Licensing Manager explained that he believed the consultation response to be commenting on licences for alcohol and entertainment rather than gambling, and gave assurances that the Licensing department has sufficient capacity to investigate every complaint received in relation to licensed premises. The Member also referred to monitoring around Temporary Event Notice applications and Mr Morgan provided a brief overview of how Licensing examine the suitability of each application on a case by case basis.


A Member referred to page 66 of the revised Statement in relation to CCTV and asked whether the recordings are required to be of a certain quality and if Licensing undertake inspections to ensure gambling premises are complying with this requirement.  The Licensing Manager confirmed that if there is cause to inspect the premises and the quality of CCTV is found to be poor, this would be brought to the attention of the license holder for improvements to be made.  However, Licensing are confident that the quality of recordings are generally improving across licensed premises, as it is in the best interests of businesses to have clear CCTV images in order to identify any perpetrators.


A Member asked if the low response rate was normal and how the consultation had been advertised.  It was confirmed that Licensing had written to all existing gambling and alcohol licence holders, together with Responsible Authorities and various bodies such as the Gambling Commission.  Wider consultation had been carried out with the public through the Council’s website which was advertised by the Communications Team.  It was noted that all Councillors had also been consulted on the proposed changes through email.


One Member also asked if gambling premises are displaying signage in relation to agencies offering support with gambling addiction (such as Gamble Aware).  Mr Morgan confirmed that he believed this to be common practice across premises but confirmed that Licensing would look into surveying a random sample of premises to check whether they are advertising these types of support networks.


The Licensing and Gambling Committee thanked Officers for the detailed report, and following consideration of the report, it was moved and seconded that the report be accepted and the following recommendation be forwarded to Council for approval.  By way of Microsoft Forms (and in noting there were 8 for, 0 against and 0 abstentions) this was unanimously agreed.


RECOMMENDED that the revised Policy as appended to the report be submitted to Full Council for approval on 26th January 2022.



The Chair wished all in attendance a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and the meeting closed at 10.26 a.m.



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