Teal blue header image

Licensing news Scotland - March 2018

This month in summary:

Licensing News

Disabled Access Statement mandatory for new alcohol licences

From 30 March 2018 all new premises licence applications must now include a disabled access statement.  The statutory application form has been amended to include a pro forma questionnaire obliging applicant to appraise and document their accessibility.  Guidance from the Scottish Government can be accessed here.

In short, the important thing to appreciate is that the statement should cover more than matters relating to physical access such as menus and hearing loops.

East Lothian launch licensing policy consultation

East Lothian licensing board are inviting views on their current liquor licensing policy.  East Lothian currently have a board-wide overprovision policy covering all types of premises, the appropriateness of this is up for discussion.  Amongst other things licensed hours for on-sales are being reviewed and views are being sought on a restriction to the commencement hour for off-sales (currently 10am-10pm), namely, pushing it back to 12noon.  The consultation closes on 29 June and can be accessed here.

Scottish Government reviewing licensing procedure for alcohol licence applications

Critics of the current procedure feel that the licensing process should be altered to increase community engagement.  The Scottish Government are seeking views on neighbour notification, consultation times, general concerns and examples of good practice.  One can expect calls for the 21 day notice period to be extended (there are calls for it to be doubled from some quarters) and the 4metre notification radius to be extended.  The Consultation runs to 6 June and you can respond online via this link

Top Licensing Tip: Don't forget to renew your tables and chairs (s.59 Roads) permit

Summer is coming (you read it here first)!  As memories of "snowmagedon" begin to melt away, licencees are reminded to renew their annual pavement permits for on-street tables and chairs.  Most local authorities permits run for 6 or 12 months from April or May, so don't get caught out when the sun does come out.

Gambling News

Edinburgh Gambling Workshop hosted by Gambling Commission

The Gambling Commission is holding a workshop on 3 May 2018 in Edinburgh City Chambers aimed at small gambling businesses, such as those who run betting shops, bingo halls and arcades. Given the recent changes to the Licensing Conditions and Codes of Practice it is a good idea for small operators to get along to this workshop. Small operators interested in attending any of these events (including the webinar) are invited to email smallopworkshops@gamblingcommission.gov.uk 

Gambling Commission publishes review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures

The long-awaited report from the Gambling Commission on gaming machines and social responsibility has been released. The advice to Government is that action is needed to reduce the potential harm to consumers.

Significantly the GC has concluded that there is not enough information available for all parties to fully understand what measures would support safer gambling. Measures based around tracking play have been proposed, alongside more immediate measures for curbing problem gambling related to machines. The GC consider that this will assist:

  • consumers to understand and manage their own gambling
  • gambling operators to identify when players are at risk of harm, so that they can intervene at an early stage to help
  • policymakers to get a better understanding of risks to consumers and to understand how effective any policy changes are at making gambling safer.

Other recommendations from the report include:

  • FOBT (B2) slots stakes should be limited to £2
  • The stake limit for FOBT (B2) non-slot games (which includes roulette) should be set at or below £30 if it is to have a significant effect on the potential for players to lose large amounts of money in a short space of time
  • Banning the facility for machines to allow different categories of games to be played in a single session
  • There is a strong case to make tracked play mandatory across machines categories (B1, B2 and B3) 
  • Extending to category B1 and B3 machines the kinds of protections, such as player limits, that are in place on FOBT (B2 machines)
  • Working with the industry and others on steps to make limit-setting more effective – this could include ending sessions when consumers reach time and money limits.

Whilst these are only recommendations and it is for the Government to determine what action to take, it is likely that the Government will look closely at which of these measures it can implement quickly. In particular, given the press surrounding FOBT and the current £100 staking limits, it is distinctly possible that this limit will be greatly reduced in the near future.

The full report can be found here.

Out and about

The licensing team have successfully represented clients at the following boards and committees, Renfrewshire Licensing Board; Scottish Borders Licensing Board; Edinburgh Licensing Board; East Lothian Licensing Board; Glasgow Licensing Board; Highland Licensing Board; South Lanarkshire Licensing Committee; South Lanarkshire Licensing Board; West Dunbartonshire Licensing Board.

In addition to the above, Niall and Stephen attended the Best Bar None National Awards whilst Caroline and Stephen spoke at the CLT Licensing Conference.

 This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at April 2018. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

Insights & events View all