Report by Public Protection Manager (attached)
The Committee considered a report by the Public Protection Manager (circulated previously) regarding the Gambling Statement of Principles.
The Public Protection Manager advised that in the absence of the Licensing Service Lead, she had reviewed the document and made some proposed amendments after which a consultation exercise was proposed to follow.
She added that the amendments were relatively minor and mainly points of clarity, she explained that North Devon Council was under a legal obligation to review its Gambling Statement of Licensing Principles on a three yearly basis.
The feedback received as a result of the consultation exercise would then be considered by the Licensing and Community Safety Committee prior to a recommendation being made for the adoption of an amended Statement of Principles by Strategy and Resources Committee and Full Council.
The Licensing and Community Safety Committee would need to consider the proposed amendments to ensure that the Statement of Principles could in turn be reconsidered by them on the 12th October 2021 following the consultation process. Statement of Principles would then be considered and approved with or without amendment by Strategy and Resources on the 1st November 2021 prior to final adoption by Full Council on the 24th November 2021.
The revised Statement of Principles focused on the on-going responsibilities of licensed premises to proactively uphold the licensing objectives. The suggested changes to the current Statement of Principles largely attempted to improve the document, clarify any issues and to respond to changes in the wording of guidance issued to local authorities
The main proposed amendments to the Statement of Principles were as follows:
· Add a disclaimer to indicate that the document was based upon the Gambling Commission’s 1st April 2021 guidance, which was subject to change, as was legislation etc.
· Update numbers of currently licensed establishments and other statistics in the ‘Geographical Area’ section.
· Update the section entitled’ Over-Riding Principle’ to reflect amended Gambling Commission guidance.
· Update the section entitled ‘General Points Regarding Gaming Machines’ to identify that local risk assessments must be provided on a variation application.
· Re-wording information pertaining to access to premises. This was to predominantly provide information on buildings divided into more than one premises with diagrammatic demonstration of acceptable options being provided.
· Provide clarity surrounding the external appearance of premises providing bingo facilities.
· Update to Part C Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centres (UFECs) to amend a formatting error; to highlight that the expectations apply to both applicants and existing premises; encourage premises to sign up to the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (BACTA) Voluntary Code, and to add Expectations on Compliance Inspections (for which premises would already be well aware of following recent correspondence and inspection).
· For the automatic entitlement of two machines, and provision of three or more machines in alcohol licensed premises by way of a permit, text was added to highlight that the Council expects compliance with the Gambling Commission’s Code of Practice for Machines in Pubs. Moreover, the expectation surrounding compliance with the Gambling Commission’s Code of Practice on Equal Chance Gaming in Clubs and Premises was echoed. Consultation with the Police and Gambling Commission was a new addition for three or more machines and the information expected to be provided in a plan is now clarified, to avoid basic plans being furnished.
She added that there were 639 licensed premises consisting of a mixture of pubs and clubs of which 142 of those establishments had gaming machines, which required permits.
She explained that under section 166 of the Act a licensing authority may resolve not to issue casino premises licences. North Devon District Council had not passed a ‘no casino’ resolution under this section and it was not proposed to put forward any recommendation to do so at present. This was largely because it was still most unlikely that any of the permitted casinos would seek to operate in the district and a resolution at this time was not considered justified or necessary.
In response to a question regarding the protection of vulnerable people in establishments with 30 plus machines, the Public Protection Manager advised that a really important aspect of responsible licensees was to ensure all employees would receive the appropriate training together with the display of appropriate signage and access to leaflets providing advice etc.
RESOLVED, that recommendation 2.1.2 be amended to state that a five week consultation take place.
(a) The draft revised Gambling Statement of Licensing Principles found within Appendix A of the report was considered; and
(b) That the Public Protection Manager commence a five week process of public consultation on the above draft revised Gambling Statement of Principles as detailed in the report.