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Licensing news, Scotland, June 2016

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

Alcohol licensing news

Gambling news

Other licensing news

Calling operators in Perth – extensions available for pavement café areas

Following a successful trial, Perth and Kinross Licensing Board have agreed to an extension of pavement café hours.

The Board will now look favourably upon applications for use of pavement café areas between 11am and 9pm (previously 7pm).

Premises wishing to extend the terminal hour need to apply for a variation of their licence to amend the specific condition. The variation needs to be approved by the Licensing Board before you can take advantage of the extra hours.

Controversy continues to swirl around new maximum alcohol intake guidelines

CAMRA director Nick Boley has added his voice to concerns about the legitimacy of the UK’s chief medical officer’s revised guidance, namely, men and women should not exceed 14 units per week.  He points to Spanish equivalent which is 34 units.  Calls are growing for an independent review into safe drinking guidelines.

Sales of alcohol in Scotland reportedly on the rise

After a steady downward trend in recent years, an NHS Health Scotland Study has found alcohol sales in Scotland rose in 2015. The report found 10.8 litres of pure alcohol was sold per adult in Scotland up from 10.7 litres in 2014.

The increase has renewed calls for the implementation of Minimum Unit Pricing as the Study reported 74% of alcohol sold in Scotland was by the off-trade.

New Rules on targeting crime

The Gambling Commission has published new rules to target crime associated with gambling.

Following a consultation in 2015, the Commission has drafted new rules which will come in to force later in 2016 to tackle crime linked to gambling.

Moving forward operators will have to -

  • undertake assessments to identify the risk of money laundering
  • draft policies, procedures and implement measures to deal with the threat of money laundering
  • report any criminal investigations involving them or their premises to the Commission
  • have systems in place to prevent employees from taking advantage of suspicious or irregular betting patterns.

FOBTs in the firing line

The Scotland Act 2016 has given Ministers of the Scottish Parliament new powers over betting machines.

MSPs can now legislate on previously reserved areas of “betting, gaming and lotteries”. Much of the attention is on fixed-odds betting terminals within high street bookmakers. The powers include setting the number and maximum stake of FOBTs.

Whilst it remains to be seen how the new powers will be used, many MSPs have been vocal in their condemnation of FOBTs, so the industry is braced for a backlash.

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

Legal highs are no longer legal after the introduction of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

Selling legal highs is now a criminal offence carrying a maximum seven year prison sentence.

Police are understood to be targeting shops and online retailers who sell the drugs and/ or the paraphernalia.  The crackdown will also focus on “pop-ups” and festivals across Scotland> and the UK as a whole.

Out and about

The busy trend continued across May with the Team not only receiving plenty of new instructions, but also dealing with enforcement matters for existing clients.

Stephen and Niall have been clocking up the miles representing clients at licensing boards and committees across Scotland. We have successfully appeared for clients at Highland, Falkirk, South Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Fife and Glasgow* this month. 

In addition to the appearances and numerous client meetings, TLT also entertained guests at the BII Scotland Awards on Sunday 22 May. As sponsors of the Best Business Initiative, TLT colleagues dusted off their tuxedos, kilts and ball gowns for a celebration of the best of the hospitality trade.

*Glasgow’s Licensing Board saw Stephen McGowan secure a rare out of policy decision for a 3a.m. extension for the Shed, a nightclub outside the city centre.

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

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