Greene King bingo claim rejected

Greene King bingo claim rejected

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
The Gambling Commission turned down the pub chain's application to offer commercial bingo

A court has backed the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) decision to refuse pub chain Greene King’s application for a bingo operating licence.

At a hearing in London, Greene King’s lawyers argued that the UK regulator had exceeded its powers when it refused in 2012 to grant a licence enabling the operator to offer commercial bingo as well as high stakes B3 and B4 gaming machines in some of its more than 1,000 pubs. They argued that the Commission’s refusal trespassed on the territory of licensing authorities carrying out their premises licensing function.

Sitting at the Upper Tribunal, Judge Howard Levenson rejected those arguments and found that the Commission has the legal power to refuse an application for an operating licence if it considers granting the application would not be reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives.

Judge Levenson ordered the case to be sent back to the First-tier Tribunal – which backed Greene King’s claim last year - for reconsideration.

Helen Venn, UKGC programme director, said: "We welcome the Upper Tribunal’s decision, which clarifies the Commission’s powers.

“In our view commercial betting, gaming and bingo and any associated high stakes and prize machines, should only be provided in separate premises licensed for that specific purpose - premises that adults make a deliberate choice to visit in order to gamble.”

Greene King already offers ‘exempt’ bingo in its premises, meaning that stakes and prizes are limited, among other restrictions.

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