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Licensing news Scotland - August 2016

What's been happening in the Scottish licensing community this month? 

Alcohol licensing news

  • Perth and Kinross Licensing Board open a consultation on overprovision of licensed premises
  • Edinburgh proxy purchase campaign

Music licensing news

  • PPL consult on residential hotels and guest houses

Gambling news

  • New licence conditions and code of practice to come into force from 31 October. 'Primary gambling activity' test to be scrapped
  • The Gambling Commission's Annual Report
  • Ladbrokes and Gala Coral merger set to proceed

Perth and Kinross Licensing Board open a consultation on overprovision of licensed premises

In an important development for Perth and Kinross, the Board have embarked on a public consultation on whether there is a saturation of licensed premises or premises of a particular type, within the confines of its area.

Owners of premises that benefit from a liquor licence, should be aware that the consultation will also consider whether premises licences not used for a specified period of time for the sale and consumption of alcohol should be revoked.  If this approach is adopted, how long that period should be will also be considered. 

The net effect of the latter part of the consultation could see a number of premises, which are closed albeit purchasers/tenants being sought, stripped of their right to sell alcohol.

In relation to the matter of overprovision, if established, a rebuttable presumption against granting a liquor licence - or increasing capacity in existing premises - would be created.

The consultation can be accessed here with the deadline for all responses set as Monday 12 September 2016.

Edinburgh proxy purchase campaign

Licensed retailers in Edinburgh have volunteered to implement a scheme backed by Police Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council to tackle proxy purchasing. This seeks to target adults buying alcohol for under 18s.

The ‘You’re Asking for It’ campaign includes a giant advertising screen on Leith Walk and campaign packs for every licensed retail premises in the area.

Retailers are to re-enforce the message about the negative consequences arising from agency sales. Not least the fact that those adults engaged in it are committing a criminal offence.

PPL consult on residential hotels and guest houses

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) - the organisation who licence recorded music played in public - have launched a consultation.  They permit retail and hospitality premises to play background music by handling the copyright fee distribution.

They are seeking views on the licence fees paid by 'small hotels and guesthouses'. This category captures premises with less than 25 letting bedrooms who do not cater for the general public, for example, facilities are only available to residents and their guests.

The consultation seeks to establish whether there is support to narrow the category to premises with fewer than 15 rooms and extend the types of broadcast captured by the licence.

You can respond here by Friday 19 August 2016.

New licence conditions and code of practice to come into force from 31 October. 'Primary gambling activity' test to be scrapped.

The Gambling Commission (GC) has announced that there are to be a number of changes to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) currently in force. 

One of the most potentially radical changes follows the GC's consultation on where gaming machines may be played in an effort to ensure that the use of high stakes machines is limited to premises where their provision can be properly supervised in a socially responsible way.

The changes are aimed at ensuring the policy objectives are embedded consistently across the non-remote betting, bingo and casino sectors. This ensures that higher stake and prize gaming machines are made available in a socially responsible manner.

With very few low-risk exceptions, the GC is seeking to guarantee that machine use is confined to dedicated gambling premises, such as casinos, betting or bingo premises and gambling activities are supervised appropriately. Within bingo, betting and casino premises gaming machines must only be made available in combination with the non-remote gambling facilities named on the operating licence. The change of the primary gambling activity to a test of whether a premises provides substantive facilities for non-remote gaming is meant to prevent the proliferation of high-stake gaming machines. 

The Gambling Commission’s Annual Report

The Gambling Commission have published their annual report, which can be accessed in full here.

The Chairman of the Commission highlighted the increasing prevalence of global online gambling and gaming. This presents new challenges for the regulation of gambling owing to the implementation of point of consumption regulation.

The new CEO, Sarah Harrison, was clear in her focus, stating; “we will be mindful of the need to put consumers at the heart of regulation. This will include building on vital work to protect the most vulnerable, and setting standards for responsible and safe gambling.”

The report also revealed interesting gambling statistics painting a picture of UK trends:

  • Almost a third (£3.6 billion) of the gambling market share is online betting, bingo and casino;
  • 18-24 year olds are least likely to gamble;
  • 45-54 year olds are most likely to gamble; and
  • A third of respondents had participated in National Lottery draws.

Ladbrokes and Gala Coral merger set to proceed

Following a finding by the Competition and Markets Authority Ladbrokes and Gala Coral can merge on the proviso they sell 350-400 betting shops between them.

This requirement is to mitigate fears that the merger could impact on competition within the industry. The proposed merger between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral would see the amalgamation become the UK’s biggest bookmaker. 

All eyes now turn to see how the market reacts and, in particular, whether William Hill responds to merger offers from 888 / Rank.

Out and about 

July brought with it the Councils’ month long recess and a break from Board and Committee Hearings, with the exception of the Perth and Kinross Board which was successfully navigated by Stephen.

Notwithstanding the recess, Stephen and Niall still clocked up the miles, visiting clients both old and new, across Scotland. Highlights included trips to Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Aberdeen and Stirlingshire.

In addition, we also hosted and delivered Gambling Law Training and Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders SCPLH  from our Glasgow Office.

Keep up to date with Niall on Twitter and LinkedIn and with Stephen on LinkedIn.

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

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