Teal blue graphic

Licensing news Scotland - November 2016

Licensing News

Civic licensing news

Gambling licensing news

Alcohol licensing

Court of Session backs minimum price

The Court of Session, the highest civil court in Scotland, has backed the Scottish government’s plans for minimum pricing.  It found that industry claims that the plans were a breach of European Law could not be upheld

Whilst this is as far as the case can go in Scotland, it is understood that a further appeal to the UK Supreme Court is being considered.

In brief - the minimum price currently being mooted is 50p per unit of alcohol equating to £14 for a bottle of spirit.

Temporary Public  Entertainment Licence now needed for occasional licence holders

Many temporary and ‘pop up’ events involve a mix of licensable activities - normally a bar and a band or entertainment stage.  For example,  a Hogmanay party in the community centre with a dinner, band and cash bar.

Prior to the law changing on 1 November 2016 an event could normally proceed on the basis of one licence, namely, an occasional (alcohol) licence which, in addition to regulating the sale of alcohol would also permit the entertainment.

But, for any event with an occasional licence granted after the 1 November 2016, the entertainment element may now need a separate licence, namely, a Temporary Public Entertainment Licence (TPEL).  Each local authority in Scotland approaches TPELs differently so you must check whether the entertainment provided meets the criteria of the local licensing resolution.

This may seem like a minor change but the effect could be significant for organisers, adding to the cost and administration of putting on an event.  If you are unsure what licences you need for your events please get in touch.

Civic licensing

Operators beware – there have been a spate of changes to the law as at 1 November 2016

The latest commencement of the provisions under the Air Weapons and Licensing Act 2015 came to life on 1 November 2016.  The changes centre on civic licensing ie. licences under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and include:

  • Testing of Private Hire Car Drivers (allowing them to be subjected to the same knowledge test as Taxi Drivers).
  • Allowing the Scottish government to introduce regulations to create a register of Metal Dealers and Itinerant Metal Dealers.
  • Restricting the exemption from public entertainment licence to only those premises with a premises licence, ie. if you have an occasional licence you may need a temporary public entertainment licence.
  • Allowing the Licensing Authorities to revoke a civic licence as opposed to suspending it indefinitely.
  • Allowing the Scottish government to make mandatory conditions for sex shops and Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEVs).
  • Allowing licensing authorities to place conditions on sex shop and SEV licences relating to adverts connected to the premises as opposed to on it, eg. flyers that are being handed out.
  • Allowing Licensing Authorities to put in place mechanisms to accept electronic applications (both grant and renewal), objections/representations and changes of circumstances.

Further information on the effect of these changes will be forthcoming in future bulletins.


Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) announces call for evidence in relation to the use and regulation of gaming machines

The DCMS are reviewing the use and regulation of gaming machines, with the aim of striking the right balance between enabling socially responsible growth across the industry and the protection of consumers and communities, including those who are would be considered problem gamblers.

Through this call for evidence, the government is seeking views on:

  • maximum stakes and prizes for all categories of gaming machines permitted under the Gambling Act 2005;
  • allocations of gaming machines permitted in all licensed premises under the Gambling Act 2005; and
  • for the industry as a whole, including but not limited to gaming machines, social responsibility measures to minimise the risk of gambling related harm. This includes looking at gambling advertising to understand whether the right measures are in place to ensure that the young and vulnerable are protected.

This call for evidence will close on 4th December 2016, following which the government will consider proposals. The consultation can be found on the gov.uk website

Gambling Commission supports probe into fair treatment of customers by operators

The Gambling Commission is supporting a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into whether gambling operators are treating customers fairly. 

The CMA has contacted a range of gambling operators, looking for evidence of unfair terms and misleading practices. This follows concerns from consumers into activities such as cancelling bets, altering odds after bets have been accepted, and offering misleading sign-up promotions. 

One of the concerns raised is that terms and conditions are misleading and confusing for consumers.

Whilst this is not strictly an investigation into the licensing of gambling, it is likely that the results of the CMA investigation will inform future changes to conditions and codes of practice licence holders must adhere to.

Out and about

A ghoulishly busy October, in the run up to Halloween, has seen no let up for the Scottish Licensing team. 

Stephen and Niall clocked up the miles once more, appearing at Renfrewshire Regulatory Functions Committee, Glasgow Licensing Committee, Glasgow Licensing Board, Scottish Borders Licensing Board, Aberdeen Licensing Committee, East Lothian Licensing Board and Highland Licensing Board

Stephen also attended the Institute of Licensing (IOL) Executive Committee Meeting to launch the Scottish IOL Region and speaking at the CLT Licensing Conference at Murrayfield.

The month closed with Stephen, Niall and Michael hosting a table of clients at the BEN Barrel Ball.  A great night was had, with tens of thousands of pounds raised for the BEN (The Scottish Licensed Trade Benevolent Society).

To keep up with Niall and Stephen, follow them on Twitter

Niall Hassard: @niall_hassard

Stephen McGowan: @LicensingLaws

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at November 2016. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

Insights & events View all