Part E – Codes of Practice and Risk Assessments
The Gambling Act 2005 requires the Gambling Commission to issue one or more codes of practice about the manner in which facilities for gambling are provided. The codes may be directed at the holders of operating or personal licences, or any other person involved in providing facilities for gambling.
The Act also requires licensing authorities to take into account when exercising their functions, any relevant code of practice issued by the Commission under section 24, in this case:-
- The Commission’s Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP), which apply to holders of Gambling Commission operating or personal licences;
- Other codes - these are the Commission’s code of practice for equal chance gaming and its code of practice for gaming machines in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence
Types of Code Provision
The LCCP contains two types of code provision, Social Responsibility Code Provisions and Ordinary Code Provisions:
Social Responsibility Code Provisions
These are provisions describing arrangements which should be made by persons providing facilities for gambling for the purpose of:-
- ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way;
- protecting children and other vulnerable persons form being harmed or exploited by gambling; and making assistance available to persons who are or may be affected by problems related to gambling.
Compliance with these is a condition of operator licences; therefore any breach of them by a licensed operator may lead the Commission to review the operator’s licence with a view to suspension, revocation or the imposition of a financial penalty and would also expose the operator to the risk of prosecution.
Ordinary Code Provisions
These do not have the status of licence conditions in the case of licensed operators, but set out good practice. Codes of practice are admissible in evidence in criminal or civil proceedings and must be taken into account in any case in which the court or tribunal think them relevant, and by the Commission in the exercise of its functions; any departure from code provisions by an operator may be taken into account by the Commission, for example on a licence review (but could not lead to imposition of a financial penalty).
The LCCP requires all existing licensees that provide gambling at their premises to assess the local risks to the licensing objectives and have policies, procedures and control measures to reduce those risks. Licensees must take into account any relevant matters identified in the licensing authorities (gambling) Statement of Policy when making their risk assessments.
A local risk assessment should also be undertaken or updated by a licensee, when applying for:-
- A new premises licence;
- When applying for a variation of an existing premises licence;
- To take into account any local significant changes in the local area;
- When there are significant changes within their premises that may affect the existing local risk assessment.
Operators are required to make the risk assessment available to licensing authorities when an application is submitted and a copy should be kept at the premises or otherwise on request, and this will form part of the Licensing Authority’s inspection regime or investigating complaints.
The Licensing Authority expects the following matters to be considered by operators when making their risk assessment:
- Matters relating to children and young persons, including:
- Institutions, places or areas where presence of children and young persons should be expected such as schools, youth clubs, parks, playgrounds and entertainment venues such as bowling allies, cinemas etc.;
- Any premises where children congregate including bus stops, café’s, shops, and any other place where children are attracted;
- Areas that are prone to issues of youths participating in anti-social behaviour, including such activities as graffiti/tagging, underage drinking, etc.;
- Recorded incidents of attempted underage gambling.
- Matters relating to vulnerable adults, including;
- Information held by the licensee regarding self-exclusions and incidences of underage gambling;
- Gaming trends that may mirror days for financial payments such as pay days or benefit payments;
- Arrangement for localised exchange of information regarding self-exclusions and gaming trends;
- Proximity of premises which may be frequented by vulnerable people such as hospitals, residential care homes, medical facilities, doctor’s surgeries, council housing offices, addiction clinics or help centres, places where alcohol or drug dependant people may congregate, credit / money lending shops, pawn shops etc.
- Other issues that may be considered could include;
- proximity to churches, mosques, temples or any other place of worship as these are often used by vulnerable people, for example: providing food banks, debt advice or mental health support;
- the economic make-up of an area;
- the surrounding night-time economy;
- children’s homes and care facilities;
- the area footfall e.g. residential or commercial areas;
- banks and ATMs nearby;
- known anti-social behaviour issues;
- housing facilities;
- job centres;
- hostel and support services for the homeless;
- alcohol and drug support facilities;
- pawn brokers and payday loan businesses;
- other gambling premises;
- mental health facilities;
- community buildings;
- residential care establishments;
- transport and parking facilities e.g. bus stops, taxi ranks, train stations;
- presences of rough sleepers;
- unemployment rates for area;
- types and rates of crime in the area that could impact on the premises
- areas with significant areas of children, e.g. parks and playgrounds.
This list is not exhaustive and other factors not in this list that are identified must be taken into consideration.
Betting Track Premises
Betting Track Premises are not required to seek an Operators’ Licence with the Gambling Commission and as such are not required to conduct a risk assessment. However, in the interest of the objectives of the Gambling Act 2005, namely i) preventing gambling being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime; ii) ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way; iii) protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling, this Licensing Authority would expect a Betting Track Premises to conduct a risk assessment for their premises.
From time to time operators will undertake a refresh of the premises' layout and décor, which is unlikely to prompt a review of the risk assessment for that premises. However, where there is a significant change at the premises that may affect the mitigation of local risks, then an operator must review its risk assessment and if necessary update it, taking into account the change and how it may affect one or more of the licensing objectives.
It is expected that gambling operators will undertake this risk assessment process as a matter of course for any premises refit, changes to layout or internal control measures. If any changes do require a review of the risk assessments for that premises gambling operators should ensure that they have a system in place to record and action any measures identified in that review.
The gambling operator will be responsible for identifying when a significant change to the premises has occurred. In order to assist gambling operators the Licensing Authority has provided the following list of examples of what could be classified as a significant change to the premises (some of which may also require a variation to the existing premises licence).
- Any building work or premises refit where gambling facilities are relocated within the premises.
- The premises licence is transferred to a new operator who will operate the premises with its own procedures and policies which are different to those of the previous licensee.
- Any change to the operator’s internal policies which as a result requires additional or changes to existing control measures; and/or staff will require retraining on those policy changes.
- The entrance or entrances to the premises are changed, for example, the door materials are changed from metal with glazing to a full glass door or doors are reallocated from egress to ingress or vice versa.
- New gambling facilities are made available on the premises which were not provided previously, for example, bet in play, handheld gaming devices for customers, Self Service Betting Terminals, or a different category of gaming machine is provided.
- The premises operator makes an application for a licence at that premises to provide an activity under a different regulatory regime, for example, to permit the sale of alcohol.
As with the examples of significant changes in local circumstances, the list above is not an exhaustive list of significant changes to premises.
The Licensing Authority will not, as general practice, request a copy of the reviewed risk assessment if a significant change to the licensed premises has occurred, unless the change is one that will necessitate a variation application.
Variations to premises licences are only those required to be made under section 187 of the Act and will not include changes of circumstances such as a change of premises' name or a change of licensee's address, etc.
The Commissions LCCP social responsibility code provision requires that gambling operators must undertake a review of the local risk assessment and update it if necessary when preparing an application to vary the premises licence. Operators submitting a variation application to the Licensing Authority may consider submitting a copy of the reviewed local risk assessment when submitting the application. This will then negate the need for the Licensing Authority requesting to see a copy of this risk assessment and could potentially reduce the likelihood of a representation being made to the application.
Regular review of risk assessment
As a matter of best practice the Licensing Authority recommends that operators establish a regular review regime in respect of their local risk assessments. This review programme can be carried out alongside other reviews on Health and Safety risk assessments for the premises. This review programme would ensure that, regardless of whether or not any of the trigger events set out above have occurred, these risk assessments are considered at regular intervals and updated if necessary.
It will be up to the gambling operator as to the frequency of these reviews but it is recommended that no more than three years should pass before these assessments are reviewed. Operators may wish to synchronise their reviews of the local risk assessments with the publication of the Licensing Authority’s Gambling Policy. This would enable gambling operators to consider the Local Area Profile outlined at paragraph 3.0.
Local risks and control measures
There are two specific parts to the risk assessment process:
- the assessment of the local risks
- the determination of appropriate mitigation to reduce those risks
The risks that operators must identify relate to the potential impact a gambling premises and its operation may have on the licensing objectives. Gambling operator should identify and list all of the local risks within the assessment that they have identified. The level of such risks can range from being low to very high depending on the potential impact that the gambling operator has assessed it to have on the licensing objectives. The level of any given risk will have a direct impact on the type and extent of the control measures that the gambling operators deems as being necessary to mitigate such risk.
Operators will already be assessing locations when looking for new sites or when reviewing the performance of their premises. The design of premises is also assessed to ensure that they will meet the needs of the gambling operation, will provide protection for staff and customers; and will have facilities for recording crime. Operators will also have implemented policies and procedures for the operation of premises in line with statutory and other regulatory requirements placed upon them by the Commission and other agencies.
Operators will already be familiar with identifying risks in relation to health and safety and food hygiene legislation. Risk assessments are also used for security and crime purposes, for example for money laundering and as part of trade association best practice, such as the Safe Bet Alliance.
This local risk assessment process, although similar requires a much broader range of considerations when identifying local risk. The requirement of the Commissions LCCP social responsibility code provision is that gambling operators consider the local area in which the premises are situated and the impact that the premises operation may have on the licensing objectives.
Further information about the Gambling Act 2005, this Statement of Licensing Policy or the application process can be obtained from:
Legal Regulatory Services
Telephone: 01639 763050 (ring back service)
Information is also available from:
The Gambling Commission
Victoria Square House
Telephone: 0121 230 6666
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
100 Parliament Street
Telephone: 020 7211 2210