Decision Maker: Licensing Committee
Decision status: Item Called In
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
The Committee considered a report on the updated draft statement of gambling principles. The Gambling Act 2005 requires the statement of gambling principles be reviewed every three years, and must be implemented by 31 January 2016.
There were two main changes to the statement of gambling principles, following guidance published by the Gambling Commission, which was the addition of local area profiles and a risk assessment criteria. The maps included with the statement were compiled in conjunction with Public Health and highlight areas of drug, smoking and alcohol services in the area, employment and income deprivation within the borough.
The Committee were informed that in Sutton it was not possible to link crime to gambling premises as there were no crime statistics available to support this in the borough. There had been very few issues with gambling premises within the borough in recent years. Furthermore, two betting shops had closed bringing the total number in the borough to 33. Although the Committee noted that online gambling had increased in recent years and was likely to have affected the number of betting shops.
The Licensing Manager stated that there were a number of concerns relating to gambling, however the revised statement would enable the authority to impose more stringent conditions on applications where appropriate and proportionate. It was noted that it may be difficult to refuse an application as the Act stated that authorities ‘should aim to permit gambling’, and all refusals by other councils had been overturned at appeal.
The local area maps would assist new applicants to identify the services or institutions which were in the vicinity of the applicant premises so they can set out how they would mitigate against the associated risks.
Councillors raised concerns that only having one member of staff in a shop at any one time was dangerous. The Licensing Manager informed the Committee that it would be unlawful to mandate staffing figures within the policy as each application should be judged on its own merits, however if a situation occurred at a premises the authority could review the licence and suggest higher staffing levels as a condition if appropriate.
The Committee suggested it should be made a requirement to display ‘gamble responsibly’ signs prominently in all gambling premises and there should be a limit to the amount any one person can lose on a betting machine. The Licensing Manager informed the Committee that premises were required to display signs and provide literature of help available to those with an addiction. Limiting the amount any one person can lose on betting machines was within the remit of the Gambling Commission, and not the local authority, and was being reviewed by the Commission. It was noted that it was important to protect vulnerable people, however it was difficult under the current legal constraints.
Resolved: To recommend to Council that the amended statement of principles, as set out at Appendix A of the report, be adopted.
Publication date: 02/10/2015
Date of decision: 15/09/2015
Decided at meeting: 15/09/2015 - Licensing Committee