The Gambling Act 2005 requires the Council (hereafter referred to as the “Licensing Authority”) to prepare and publish a “Statement of Licensing Policy” known as the Gambling Policy that sets out the principles the Licensing Authority proposes to apply in exercising its licensing functions under the Act.
This Policy takes effect on 31st January 2022. This Licensing Authority will update and publish a new Licensing Policy whenever necessary but in any case within 3 years of the date of this Policy, and will fully consult with partners, trade associations and residents groups as appropriate at that time, any representations received will be considered at that time.
However where updates are required due to changes in national legislation, statutory guidance or contact details the Licensing Authority reserves the right to amend this policy without consultation where it is necessary to ensure the policy reflects national legislation or statutory guidance.
In producing the final Policy Statement the Licensing Authority declares that it has had regard to the licensing objectives of the Gambling Act 2005, the Guidance to Licensing Authorities issued by the Gambling Commission, any codes of practice and any responses from those consulted on the Policy Statement.
The Licensing Authority has a legal obligation to comply with all legislation that promotes equality it has a policy in place to promote equality to all. Licensing of persons and premises under the Gambling Act 2005 will actively promote equality of service and enforcement to all members of the community.
The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights and makes it unlawful for a local authority to act in a way that is incompatible with such a right. The Licensing Authority will have regard to the Human Rights Act when considering any licensing issues, and particularly in respect of the way in which applications are considered and enforcement activities are carried out.
The Licensing Authority acknowledges that it may need to depart from this Policy and from the guidance issued under the Act in individual and exceptional circumstances, and where the case merits such a decision in the interests of the promotion of the licensing objectives. Any such decision will be taken in consultation with the appropriate legal advisors for the Licensing Authority, and the reasons for any such departure will be fully
It should be noted that this Policy will not override the right of any person to make an application, make representation about an application, or apply for a review of a licence, as each will be considered on its own merits and according to the statutory requirements of the Gambling Act 2005.
In accordance with the requirements of the Act, the Licensing Authority has consulted widely before publishing this Policy. A list of consultees is reproduced at Appendix 2. The consultation was carried out between September and November 2021.
The Policy was approved at a meeting of the full Council on 22nd December 2021 and was published via our website on the 23rd December 2021. Copies have been placed in the public libraries of the area as well as being available in the Civic Centres at Neath and Port Talbot. Should you have any comments as regards this Gambling Policy, or wish to see the full list of comments and the consideration by the authority of those comments then please send them via e- mail or letter to:-
Legal Regulatory Manager
Legal Regulatory Services
Neath Port Talbot Council Local Area Profile
Neath Port Talbot has a geographical area of 441km2 and is the ninth largest council in Wales with a population of 144,386 (the 11th highest population density).
The Council has adopted a Corporate Plan (2021-2023) and the Neath Port Talbot Public Services Board Well-being Plan (2018 – 2023) The Council’s Corporate Plan sets out the Council’s well-being objectives which have been set so as to maximise the Council’s contribution to the seven national well-being goals whilst also discharging its duty to improve the economic environmental, social and cultural well-being of people in Neath, Port Talbot and Pontardawe and to carry out sustainable development. The Plan also sets priorities for improvement and describes how the Council is changing the way it does things to meet the needs of its communities.
The Neath Port Talbot Public Services Board Well-being Plan sets out the Public Services Board’s long term vision for the area as well as priorities for action over the next 5 years. The Plan contains well-being objectives identified by the Public Services Board and describes the practical steps that the Board will take to deliver the objectives.
The Licensing Authority expects that those who operate or wish to operate gambling premises within Neath Port Talbot are familiar with both the Council’s Corporate Plan and the Public Services Board Well-being Plan and have regard to the well-being objectives that the Council and the Board are trying to achieve.
Operators will be expected to have given consideration to the appropriate well-being objectives within their risk assessments as outlined in paragraph 39 of this policy, paying particular attention to the protection of children from harm and the high levels of deprivation and personal debt within Neath Port Talbot
In exercising most of their functions under the Gambling Act 2005 (the Act), the Licensing Authority must have regard to the licensing objectives as set out in Section 1 of the Act and reproduced below:-
- 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 being conducted in a fair and open way.
- Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
It should be noted that the Gambling Commission has stated “The requirements in relation to children is explicitly to protect them from being harmed or exploited by gambling”.
The Licensing Authority is aware that as per Section 153 of the Act, in making decisions about premises licences and temporary use notices, it should aim to permit the use of premises for gambling in so far as it thinks it:-
- In accordance with any relevant code of practice issued by the Gambling Commission;
- In accordance with any relevant guidance issued by the Gambling Commission;
- Reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives; and
- In accordance with the authority’s statement of licensing policy
Licensing Authority Functions
Under the Act this Licensing Authority will be responsible for the following:
- Issuing Premises Licences – Where gambling activities are to take place.
- Issue Provisional Statements - For premises which are to be constructed or adapted for gambling activities.
- Regulate Club Gaming Permits and or Club Machine Permits for members clubs and miners’ welfare institutes who wish to undertake certain gaming activities.
- Issue Club Machine Permits – for Commercial Clubs.
- Grant Permits for the use of certain lower stake gaming machines at unlicensed Family Entertainment Centres.
- Receive notifications from alcohol licensed premises (under the Licensing Act 2003) for the use of two or fewer gaming machines.
- Issue Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permits for premises licensed to sell/supply alcohol for consumption on the licensed premises, under the Licensing Act 2003, where more than two machines are required.
- Registration of lotteries which are small society lotteries below prescribed thresholds.
- Issue Prize Gaming Permits.
- Receive and Endorse Temporary Use Notices
- Receive Occasional Use Notices.
- Provide information to the Gambling Commission regarding details of licences issued (see section 7.0. on information exchange).
- Maintain registers of the permits and licences that are issued under these functions.
The licensing authority in order to deal efficiently with applications for premises licences, permits, temporary and occasional use notices, reviews, etc has prescribed a list of delegated functions. This is shown at appendix 3.
It should be noted that the Licensing Authority will not be involved in licensing remote gambling. This will fall to the Gambling Commission via Operating Licences.
The Licensing Authority recognises that the licensing function is only one means of promoting delivery of the three objectives and should not therefore be seen as a means for solving all problems within the community. The Licensing Authority will therefore continue to work in partnership with neighbouring authorities, South Wales Police, Public Health local businesses, local people and those involved in child protection to promote the licensing objectives as outlined. In addition, the Licensing Authority recognises its duty under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, with regard to the prevention of crime and disorder.
The Licensing Authority is required by regulations to state the principles it will apply in exercising its powers under Section 157(h) of the Act to designate, in writing, a body which is competent to advise the authority about the protection of children from harm. The principles are:
- The need for the body to be responsible for an area covering the whole of the Licensing Authority’s area, and
- The need for the body to be answerable to democratically elected persons, rather than any particular vested interest group.
In accordance with the Gambling Commission’s Guidance for Local Authorities, this authority designates the Western Bay Safeguarding Children Board for this purpose.
The contact details of all the Responsible Authorities under the Gambling Act 2005 are available on the Licensing Authority’s website.
Interested parties can make representations about licence applications, or apply for a review of an existing licence. These parties are defined in the Gambling Act as follows:-
“For the purposes of this Part, a person is an interested party in relation to an application for or in respect of a premises licence if, in the opinion of the Licensing Authority which issues the licence or to which the application is made, the person –
- lives sufficiently close to the premises to be likely to be affected by the authorised activities,
- has business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities, or
- represents persons who satisfy paragraph (a) or (b)”.
- The Licensing Authority is required by regulations to state the principles it will apply in exercising its powers under the Gambling Act 2005 to determine whether a person is an interested party. The principles are:
Each case will be decided upon its merits. This authority will not apply a rigid rule to its decision making, but will consider the examples of considerations provided in the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Licensing Authorities.
It will also consider the Gambling Commission’s Guidance that “has business interests” should be given the widest possible interpretation and include partnerships, charities, faith groups and medical practices.
Interested parties can be persons who are democratically elected such as Councillors and MP’s. No specific evidence of being asked to represent an interested person will be required as long as the Councillor/MP represents the ward likely to be affected. Likewise parish/community councils likely to be affected will be considered to be interested parties. Other than these persons, this Authority will require written evidence that a person ‘represents’ someone who either lives sufficiently close to the premises to be likely to be affected by the authorised activities and/or has business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities. A letter from one of these persons, requesting that representation is sufficient.
If individuals wish to approach Councillors to ask them to represent their views then care should be taken that the Councillors are not part of the Licensing Committee dealing with the licence application. If there are any doubts then please contact the Legal Regulatory Services team on 01639 763050 (ring back service) or e-mail LRS@npt.gov.uk
Exchange of Information
Licensing authorities are required to include in their policy statement the principles to be applied by the Authority in exercising the functions under sections 29 and 30 of the Act with respect to the exchange of information between it and the Gambling Commission, and the functions under Section 350 of the Act with the respect to the exchange of information between it and the other persons listed in Schedule 6 to the Act.
The principle that this Licensing Authority applies is that it will act in accordance with the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005 in its exchange of information which includes the provision that data protection legislation will not be contravened. The Licensing Authority will also have regard to any guidance issued by the Gambling Commission on this matter, as well as any relevant regulations issued by the Secretary of State under the powers provided in the Gambling Act 2005.
Should any protocols be established as regards information exchange with other bodies, then they will be made available
Licensing Authorities are required by regulation under the Gambling Act 2005 to state the principles to be applied by the authority in exercising the functions under Part 15 of the Act with respect to the inspection of premises; and the powers under section 346 of the Act to institute criminal proceedings in respect of the offences specified.
The Licensing Authority’s principles are that:
It will be guided by the Gambling Commission’s Guidance to Local Authorities, the Regulators Code and the Licensing Authority’s enforcement policy. It will endeavour to be:
- Proportionate: regulators should only intervene when necessary: remedies should be appropriate to the risk posed, and costs identified and minimised;
- Accountable: regulators must be able to justify decisions, and be subject to public scrutiny;
- Consistent: rules and standards must be joined up and implemented fairly;
- Transparent: regulators should be open, and keep regulations simple and user friendly; and
- Targeted: regulation should be focused on the problem, and minimise side effects
The Licensing Authority will endeavour to avoid duplication with other regulatory regimes so far as possible.
The Licensing Authority has implemented a risk-based inspection programme based on:-
- The Licensing Objectives
- Relevant Codes of Practice
- Guidance issued by the Gambling Commission
- The principles set out in this statement of licensing policy
- The Licensing Authority’s enforcement policy
The main enforcement and compliance role for the Licensing Authority in terms of the Gambling Act 2005 will be to ensure compliance with the premises licences and other permissions which is authorises. The Gambling Concerns about manufacture, supply or repair of gaming machines will not be dealt with by the Licensing Authority, but should be notified to the Gambling Commission.
The Licensing Authority will take account of the Gambling Commissions guidance document issued in February 2015 (or any subsequent amendments) ‘Approach to Test Purchasing’ when considering making test purchases at gambling premises. The Licensing Authority will also follow its own policies and procedures regarding the use of underage test purchasers.
The Licensing Authority will also keep itself informed of developments as regards the work of the Better Regulation Executive in its consideration of the regulatory functions of local authorities.
Under the terms of the Act any individual/company may apply for a variety of permissions and have their applications considered on their individual merits. Equally, any Interested Party or Responsible Authority has a right to make relevant representations on an application or to seek a review of a licence or certificate where provision has been made for them to do so in the Act.
Applicants and those making relevant representations in respect of applications to the Licensing Authority have a right of appeal to the Magistrates Court against the decisions of the Licensing
Integrating Strategies and Avoiding Duplication
By consulting widely prior to this Policy Statement being published, the Licensing Authority will take full account of local policies covering crime prevention, culture, transport, planning and tourism as part of an integrated strategy for the Council, Police and other agencies. Many of these strategies may not be directly related to the promotion of the three licensing objectives, but may indirectly impact upon them.
When considering any application, the Licensing Authority will avoid duplication with other regulatory regimes so far as possible. Therefore, the Licensing Authority will not attach conditions to a licence unless they are considered necessary, reasonable and proportionate to the use of premises for gambling consistent with the licensing objectives.
Sustainable Development Community Strategy
The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 requires Local Authorities in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other, and to prevent persistent problems, such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change. The Act clearly supports and actively promotes the licensing objectives. This Act links specifically to the prevention of crime and disorder and public nuisance. The Licensing Authority will consider the five ways of working contained under this Act namely:
Long Term (how we support the long term well-being of people) – The Licensing Authority recognises the need for people to be able to enjoy their leisure time and socialise with friends and family in a diverse and vibrant environment. This has to be balanced however against the need to ensure that children are protected from the harms of gambling and ensuring that operators are able to identify vulnerable adults with gambling addictions / problems, to offer help, guidance and support through appropriate signposting.
Integration (impacts upon our wellbeing objectives) – The Licensing Authority will ensure that children and adults with gambling addictions / problems are protected. Premises offer Gambling activities will be expected to have given proper consideration in operating schedules as to how they will protect children and vulnerable adults on their premises. Likewise, operating schedules will be expected to have given consideration to ensuring that their business does not impact negatively on those that live in the vicinity of the premises.
Involvement (how people have been involved) – The Licensing Authority has undertaken an extensive, far reaching consultation exercise in developing this policy.
Collaboration (Working with other services / organisations) – The Licensing Authority works with other Local Authorities and partner agencies across Wales to develop consistent policies and processes. Membership of the Institute of Licensing and representation on the All Wales Licensing Expert Panel enables the Licensing Authority to work with other local authorities, partner agencies and trade bodies across Wales to develop consistent policies and processes in order to achieve its objectives.
Prevention (how problems will be prevented from occurring or getting worse) – The Licensing Authority will carefully consider all applications to ensure the licensing objectives set-out in the Act are promoted at all times. Where premises are found to not be operating in a safe and responsible manner, the Licensing Authority will work with its partners to take remedial action, including formal enforcement to swiftly resolve any issues.
The Neath Port Talbot Public Services Board involving the Local Authority and representatives from a range of partner organisations, are responsible for achievement of locally set well-being objectives which must address the national well-being goals specified in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
Under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 local authorities must have regard to the likely effect of the exercise of their functions on, and do all they can to prevent crime and disorder in the area. The Licensing Authority will have particular regard to the likely impact of licensing on related crime and disorder in the area, particularly when considering the location, impact, operation and management of all proposed licence/permit applications, renewals and variations of conditions.