Councils back new licensing guidance

Councils back new licensing guidance

Friday, October 2, 2015 Totally Gaming
The document advises councils on the risk assessments that operators must undertake from 2016

The Local Government Association (LGA) has told TotallyGaming.com that new licensing guidance will improve the relationship between councils and gambling operators.

The Gambling Commission has published the fifth edition of its guidance to licensing authorities (GLA5), which it said “seeks to reinforce the importance of partnership working between licensing authorities (LAs) and local businesses to mitigate risks to the licensing objectives”.

The guidance includes more information for councils concerning the requirement for operators to conduct a local risk assessment ahead of applying to open new premises from April 2016.

GLA5 comes out following a year in which the LGA backed for a reduction of the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals and called for a change to licensing laws that would give local areas the ability to reject applications for new betting shops in places in which there are already multiple betting shops.

“Councils support the updated guidance to licensing authorities, which reflects important recent changes to the licensing conditions and codes of practice applying to operators,” said Cllr Tony Page, LGA licensing spokesman. “The revised and expanded sections on the statement of principles, local risk assessments and local area profiles are particularly helpful in clarifying the range of tools available to help operators and councils deal with local risks.

“The new guidance, in tandem with the work of councils to update their local statements of principles, will help to encourage a much more localised approach and greater partnership working with operators, as is standard in other areas of licensing.”

In its own remarks during consultation over the guidance earlier this year, the LGA reiterated its concern about FOBTs and said that “we will continue to work with our members to make the case for stronger powers for councils in this area. However, until such time as new powers are implemented, it is incumbent on councils to ensure they make full use of the range of tools at our disposal in relation to gambling regulation, recognising that our responsibilities go much wider than just betting shops and overall numbers of gambling premises”.

The Gambling Commission added: “GLA5 provides local authorities with further guidance on the requirement for operators to conduct a local risk assessment in order to understand the risks associated with the areas in which they have, or wish to have, a gambling premises.”

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