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The Gambling Commission has responsibility for granting operating and personal licences for commercial gambling operators and personnel working in the industry. Licensing Boards have new powers to license gambling premises within their area, as well as undertaking functions in relation to lower stake gaming machines and clubs and miners’welfare institutes.
The Act also provides for a new system of temporary and occasional use notices. These will authorise premises that are not licensed generally for gambling purposes to be used for certain types of gambling, for limited periods.
Revised Statement of Gambling Policy
The Act contains three licensing objectives which underpin the functions that the Gambling Commission and Licensing Boards will perform. These objectives are central to the new regulatory regime created by the Act. They 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;
protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling. The Commission has an overriding obligation to pursue and have regard to the objectives, and to permit gambling so far as it thinks is reasonably consistent with them.
Functions of The Licensing Board
The Act gives Licensing Boards a number of important regulatory functions in relation to gambling.
Their main functions are to:
- Licence premises for gambling activities;
- consider notices given for the temporary use of premises for gambling;
- grant permits for gaming and gaming machines in clubs and miners’ welfare institutes;
- regulate gaming and gaming machines in Alcohol Licensed Premises;
- grant permits to family entertainment centres(FECs) for the use of certain lower stake gaming machines;
- grant permits for Prize Gaming;
- consider occasional use notices for betting at tracks;
- and register small societies' lotteries
In addition, Licensing Boards are required to prepare and publish, every three years, a Statement of Principles which they propose to apply when exercising their functions. The statement, which may also be referred to as a ‘policy’, can be reviewed and re-published during the three-year period in which it has effect.