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Licensing news Scotland - October 2018

This month in summary:

Licensing news

Guide to renewing your personal licence

Autumn 2018 has brought the start of the renewal process for personal licences. To ensure you deal with all the requirements correctly and easily, read our guide to renewing your personal licence. 

Top Licensing Tip: Festive extensions – it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

The festive season can bring much cheer for licence holders, with bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs all likely to see footfall rise.  The annual office parties and friends and families socialising with one another can bring a welcome boost for the bottom line.

Many licensing boards across Scotland will grant general extensions to the terminal hour for on-trade premises.  These extensions vary board to board and may cover anything from key dates, or every weekend, or right up to every day in December.  If you have "season variations" marked YES in the operating plan you get these automatically (note some boards ask for an email to confirm which dates you will avail yourself of).

Other licensing boards will look to licensees to apply by way of extended hours application but will often look on these applications favorably. 

To ensure you don't miss out our Top Licensing Tips are –

  • Check question 4 in your operating plan – have you said "YES" to seasonal variations?
  • Check the local licensing board's website or phone the board and ask for details of their Festive Hours Policy – does this meet your needs?
  • If extended hours applications are requested - apply early!
  • If in doubt - speak to a specialist licensing solicitor ASAP.

Please note season variations do not apply to off-sales. Have a look at our table for festive extension dates by Board

Gambling news

Amended codes of practice and conditions to come into force in November

New rules from the Gambling Commission come into force from 31 October 2018. The changes to the Licence conditions and codes of practice are designed to provide stronger protection for consumers to ensure they are treated fairly by gambling businesses.

The new rules will make it easier for the Gambling Commission to take action and impose fines against gambling businesses that break advertising rules, such as using advertising that appeals particularly to children or glamourises gambling.  This will include action taken against companies where third-party affiliates are responsible for advertising failings on their behalf.

The Commission are also looking at making it quicker and easier to take action for breaches of consumer law, such as unfair and misleading practices or unreasonable restrictions on withdrawals by customers.

As part of the changes, firms will have to provide effective complaints processes, including an eight week deadline for complaints to be resolved.

In addition, action can be taken by the Gambling Commission against gambling firms that send ‘spam’ marketing emails or texts.

The changes build on the Gambling Commissions stated aims to focus on ensuring customers of betting companies are treated fairly. Whilst the Commission expressed frustration at the reports they had received of betting restrictions being used to limit winnings of successful gamblers, they also recognised that individual businesses need to manage their commercial liabilities. As part of this, they acknowledged that the introduction of a 'right to bet' could have significant impact on the odds and markets offered to the majority of gamblers who do not face restrictions on their gambling activities. However, given that complaints by gamblers who have been restricted in their betting seem to be growing in number and strength, expect this issue to rumble on.

Out and about

As the winter chill sets in, our licensing solicitors are not deterred.  They don their hats, scarves and gloves and continue to travel the length and breadth of the country representing clients.

We have recently had success at Licensing Boards in North Ayrshire, Aberdeenshire, Highlands, Glasgow, Midlothian, Stirling, East Renfrewshire, East Lothian, Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders Council and Edinburgh.   

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

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