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Licensing news Scotland - June 2017

This month in summary

Licensing News

Licensing board uncertainty following local authority election in May

It is fair to say that the formation of many licensing boards across Scotland (including for example Edinburgh) has been slower than would otherwise be the norm owing to the political tensions arising from the snap general election.  Accordingly, it is too early to provide a view on whether 'new boards' (some may contain many of the same pre-election members) will begin licensing board policy consultations as a matter of urgency or whether the status quo will remain through 2017 and into 2018.  Watch this space…

Minimum unit pricing case

The Scotch Whisky Association and Others' challenge to the competence of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act has had an appeal diet assigned for 24 and 25 July 2017 before the UK Supreme Court in London. Although it is too early to say definitively, a decision could reasonably be expected by late autumn 2017.

Civic News

Edinburgh Council changes HMO licensing regime

HMO licence holders in Edinburgh should be aware that Edinburgh Council has made significant changes to the way it administers the regime.  It has introduce a three year licence (previously it was only an annual permission) and a new fee structure as a result.  The changes went live on 1 June 2017.

Gambling News

Greene King Brewing and Retailing Ltd v Gambling Commission

Greene King had appealed a decision of the Upper Tribunal which upheld the Gambling Commission's decision that the Commission were entitled to refuse an operating licence for high stakes bingo to be conducted in eight Greene King pubs. Whilst Greene King were deemed fit to be operating licence holders, the refusal centered on the deemed unsuitability to offer this form of gambling in pubs. The Court of Appeal held that the Gambling Commission and Upper Tribunal where right and the original refusal on the grounds that, to grant it would be inconsistent with the licensing objectives flowing from the unsuitability of pubs was within the power and discretion of the Commission. 

Biannual Gambling industry statistics published by the Gambling Commission

The full report can be accessed here but the headline figures covering October 2015 and September 2016 are:

  • £13.8 billion total gross gambling yield of the Great Britain gambling industry
  • £4.5 billion total gross gambling yield for the remote sector
  • 32% market share of the remote sector
  • 106,678 total number of employees in the gambling industry
  • 8,788 total number of betting shops
  • 176,410 total number of gambling machines
  • 583 total number of bingo premises
  • 147 total number of casinos
  • 1,729 total number of licensed arcades
  • £1.7 billion contributions to good causes from the National Lottery
  • £231.8 million contributions to good causes from large society lotteries


The Institute of Licensing set to host first ever Scottish regional event

The first event will take place at TLT's office in Glasgow on 20 June 2017.

The free to attend seminar and networking afternoon features special presentations on developments in alcohol, gambling and SEV licensing and will be of particular interest for licensing solicitors, police, licensing standards and local authorities as we learn from experts from across the UK.

You can book here.

Out and about

With the Scottish Council Elections held in May the licensing boards/committees across the country took a brief hiatus.  Not content to rest on our laurels we took the opportunity presented by fewer hearings to see clients and contacts.

As well as hosting two tables of clients at the BII Scotland Awards on 21 May, Stephen and Niall were judges for the awards, visiting and "mystery shopping" 15 finalists premises between them.  Caroline and Niall entertained clients at an exclusive TLT lunch prepared and hosted by Master Chef the Professionals winner, Gary Maclean. 

On the training front Stephen ran a well-attended personal licence training course in our Glasgow office and Stephen, Caroline and Niall hosted seminars for firms of Insolvency Practitioners highlighting upcoming changes to liquor licensing affecting their sector.  Additionally, Caroline and Michael provided CPD to commercial property solicitors on licensing related matters.

If all of that wasn't enough, Stephen was part of the Scottish Beer Awards judging panel, sampling and awarding scores to 60+ beers (a tough job but someone has to do it!).

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at June 2017. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

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