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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 11/07/2006
GAMBLING ACT 2005 - DRAFT GAMBLING POLICY



Summary & Purpose
The Gambling Act 2005 gives additional responsibilities to district councils as licensing authorities to permit various forms of gambling, including the grant of licences, permits and registration, much of which is new to Councils. The legislation specifies three licensing objectives, in a similar way as the Licensing Act 2003, although there are differences between the two pieces of legislation. The objectives are set out at Page 3, para 1.1 of the Annexe to this report.

APPENDIX L
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

LICENSING AND REGULATORY COMMITTEE - 4TH JULY 2006
EXECUTIVE – 11TH JULY 2006


Title:
GAMBLING ACT 2005 - DRAFT GAMBLING POLICY
[Wards Affected: All]


Summary and purpose:

The purpose of this report is to enable the Committee to consider a draft Gambling Policy for Waverley. Once the draft has been approved, it will be the subject of a formal 12 week public consultation prior to the start of the first period when licence applications may be made under the Gambling Act 2005. Following the consultation period, the draft will be finalised and submitted again via the appropriate Committee and the Executive to the Council, for adoption and introduction by early January 2007.



Environmental Implications

There are no new environmental implications in this report.

Social/Community Implications

The Gambling Act 2005 gives additional responsibilities to district councils as licensing authorities to permit various forms of gambling, including the grant of licences, permits and registration, much of which is new to Councils. The legislation specifies three licensing objectives, in a similar way as the Licensing Act 2003, although there are differences between the two pieces of legislation. The objectives are set out at Page 3, para 1.1 of the Annexe to this report.

E-Government implications

There are no direct E-government implications in this report at this time, although the Council has objectives under e-government which may affect the way in which applications are made in the future.

Resource and legal implications

There are no resource issues involved in devising this policy. Historically, Licensing Act 2003 policies were challenged, causing expense to the Local Authorities involved. It is considered that the draft is sound and reasonably based on evidence and professional opinion. The legal issues arising from this report will be those arising from consideration of applications for gambling premises licences in due course, although indications are that

these will be very few, and there will not be the bulk of work for the Licensing Sub-Committees that has arisen from the Licensing Act. However, the Licensing Act Sub-Committees will have this duty to deal with in addition to their existing duties, and appropriate training will be given in due course on the Gambling Act 2005.



Introduction

1. The Gambling Act 2005 is due to be introduced in September 2007, and the Council will have to be ready to receive advance applications from 31st January 2007, when the Policy will come into effect. The legislation will transfer the licensing of various types of gambling (such as premises licences for betting and gaming establishments, permits for gaming machines in pubs and clubs, etc., lotteries registration) from their various sources to district councils, to be dealt with in a similar way as with the Licensing Act applications which the Council has been handling for over a year now. The new Act will again be very different in essence from existing law, and involves the Council in producing a Statement of Policy for Gambling, against which premises licence applications will be assessed. The licensing of Operators, and Personal Licences, under this legislation will be dealt with nationally by the newly set up Gambling Commission.

The Council’s Draft Statement of Gambling Policy

2. Waverley works closely with a Surrey-wide licensing forum of the Borough Councils and Partner organisations and a draft statement has been prepared in the first instance by one of Guildford Borough Council’s Solicitors, based on a template from LACORS (Local Authorities Co-ordinating Office on Regulatory Services). At this stage, your officers would like to acknowledge and thank Guildford Borough Council’s Specialist Solicitor, Adrian Stanfield, for his invaluable assistance in starting the process of preparing the draft Policy, which has now been adapted to suit the needs of Waverley.

3. The detail under which the new Act can be operated will be contained in the Guidance and Regulations. Regulations have not yet emerged from Government and at the time of writing this report are not expected for possibly some weeks or months. It is now, however, important to commence consideration of a draft Waverley Statement of Policy for Gambling, so that the Council can be prepared for the future. The Draft Statement is enclosed for consideration (Annexe 1). The progress of the draft will be via the Licensing and Regulatory Committee. Comments will then be considered by the Executive and reported to the Council for approval, so that formal consultation on the agreed draft Statement may be undertaken within the 12 week timetable set by the Government.

4. The new legislation will hand to local authority licensing sections the responsibility for licensing the following:

o Lotteries and amusements registrations (already with the Council)
o Amusements with Prizes (machines) - mainly in licensed premises
o Betting premises (expected to cover around premises in Waverley
o Bingo Halls - none at present in Waverley
o Casinos - none at present in Waverley


5. It is difficult at this stage to estimate the likely costs and income from this new activity, since the regulations setting the statutory fees have not yet been issued. However, there is not likely to be a great need for enforcement under the new legislation, although this, too has not been established at this early stage when the legislation and supporting regulations are not issued. On the basis of the Licensing Act, it is anticipated that the income for the new activity will be self-financing, as is the general principle behind licensing generally. There is a strong view that the costs of regulating and licensing activities should not have to be met by the tax-payer, as these functions are an enabling process for applicants to run their businesses.

6. Members will be informed if any progress has been made on the Regulations (which have not yet been seen). However, Committee is asked to comment to the Executive, which will then make its recommendation to the Council on the draft so that formal consultation can take place at an early date.

Member Consideration

7. As stated above, the draft Statement is presented to meetings of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee and the Executive. All comments will then go to the Council on 18th July for initial approval of the draft. It will then be possible for formal consultation to commence in accordance with the timetable set by the Government.

Conclusion

8. Each meeting is therefore asked to make any comments on the current draft Statement of Gambling Policy, to enable the officers to commence the consultation process. Once the consultation has ended, the Policy will be brought back via the same route to the Council in December, to be formalised and adopted in time for January 2007, in accordance with the Act.

Recommendation

It is recommended that Waverley’s draft Statement of Gambling Policy be considered and any comments conveyed via the Executive to the Council.



Background Papers (HCMS)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(4)…of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.



CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Rosemary Hughes Telephone: 01483 523225

E-mail: rhughes@waverley.gov.uk




Comms/exec/2006-07/078