5.1 Inspectorates for Bingo Premises are:
a) The local Licensing Authorities (local council)
b) The Gambling Commission
c) The Police
d) Fire Authority / Fire Safety Officer
e) Environmental Health Officer
f) Trading Standards Officer
5.2 The Bingo Annual Regulatory Return
Licensing Authorities (as defined at section 2 of the Act) are responsible for issuing premises licences to enable gambling operators to provide different types of gambling facilities.
For the purposes of this Act the following are licensing authorities:
in relation to England:
a) a district council
b) a county council for a county in which there are no district councils
c) a London borough council
d) the Common Council of the City of London
e) the Council of the Isles of Scilly.
in relation to Wales:
a) a county council
b) a county borough council.
in relation to Scotland:
a) a licensing board constituted under section 5 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.
5.3 Licensing Authorities’ Inspection Guidance Templates
To help Local Authority Licensing Officers ensure they meet their regulatory obligations under the Gambling Act 2005, the Gambling Commission worked together with the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Licencing Forum and LLEP to create templates for inspections at gambling premises. The templates include reference to the social responsibility code provisions issued by the Commission under Section 153 of the Gambling Act 2005. The inclusion of these provisions allow Officers to get a wider understanding for a premises/ operators approach towards achieving compliance in areas that tie directly into the community safety.
The initiative aims to make gambling regulations easier to access and understand and supports regulatory services in providing advice and guidance to businesses on how to achieve compliance.
The templates are shown in the appendices (it is important to note that not all authorities use the template) and include:
Inspection guides: Aid officers in completing inspections at gambling premises (see appendix A).
Premises information: To be left at the premises and satisfy the inspection provision regulations. They provide premises with information about the concept of shared regulation, inspection rationale and frequency, legal powers of entry, evidence of ID and the complaints procedures. They also include detail of the inspection areas (for example, relevant Premises Licence conditions, legislation and Social Responsibility Code Provisions).
Inspection guidance note for Authorised Local Authority Officers: This is preparatory tool that includes guidance on the legal requirements when conducting inspections such as the statement on entry, questioning and evidence of ID (appendix B).
Requests for a written record of the inspection: Template to fulfil obligations around transparency (appendix C).
These documents assist Licensing Authority Officers throughout England and Wales to fulfil gambling regulation obligations and achieve wider community safety objectives by helping protect the young and the vulnerable.
The documents are owned by The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Licensing Forum.
The documents may not be wholly appropriate for all Officers and authorities, but they provide a solid foundation from which Officers will work. They are reviewed annually to ensure they reflect legislative change.
5.4 The Gambling Commission
The Act also creates powers of entry and inspection for the Commission to regulate gambling and sets out safeguards for those subject to the powers.
Licence condition (14.1.1) ‘Access to premises’ sets out the licensee’s responsibilities.
Licence condition 14.1.1 – Access to premises
Licensees must have and put into effect policies and procedures (including staff training programmes) designed to ensure that their staff co-operate with the Commission’s enforcement officers in the proper performance of their compliance functions and are made aware of those officers’ rights of entry to premises contained in Part 15 of the Act.
5.4.2 Advice and assessment
The Commission will undertake compliance activity in a variety of ways. The Commission will provide advice to licensees to help them comply with the requirements of the legislation and the licence conditions and codes of practice which apply to them.
The Commission may also undertake desk based assessment, or may telephone licensees to assess compliance.
The purpose of an assessment and visit is to:
a) ensure that the licensee remains suitable to hold a licence
b) check that the licensee is conducting their activities in a manner which is consistent with the licensing objectives
c) ensure that the licensee is complying with the requirements of the Act and relevant regulations
d) ensure that the licensee is complying with the Commission’s LCCP that apply to the licence held.
Assessments and visits also offer an opportunity for the Commission to promote good practice, as well as offering licensees an opportunity to seek advice and to provide feedback to the Commission.
5.4.3 Requests for information
A request for the production of any records or to provide an explanation of records will be made either orally or in writing, dependent upon the individual circumstances of each case. Wherever possible, licensees will be given a reasonable period of time to comply with the request. The Commission will seek to take into account the burden placed on the individual or business when removing records so that it causes minimal disruption.
The Commission will only ask a licensee to produce documents or records which it needs and will only remove them if it is necessary. Generally, the Commission will copy documents or records and leave the original records with the licensee. When any document or record is removed, the Commission will give an explanation of why this is necessary and provide a receipt. Any documents which have been removed will be returned as soon as possible after the need for their retention has passed. Where an information request is made orally on a visit a record will be made of the request, what has been requested and the time and place for its production.
5.4.4 Required improvements
During the course of an assessment visit, compliance issues may be identified which require improvements to be made. Wherever possible, the Commission will explain to the licensee why any changes need to be made, the basis for requiring the changes and a timeframe in which required improvements should be carried out.
The Commission may give advance notice of its intention to visit a licensee and provide details of the process and procedures to be followed. This will provide the licensee with clarity about what will be required and gives the licensee an opportunity to prepare and to minimise potential disruption to the licensed activities being undertaken. However, assessment visits may be made without prior notice.
5.4.6 Regulatory Enforcement
In its widest sense, enforcement includes the regulatory or criminal investigation processes, which may result in the exercise of the Commission’s regulatory powers under the Act, or the commencement of a prosecution
and the laying of criminal charges. Enforcement forms an essential part of the Commission’s work to keep gambling fair and safe for all.
The Commission’s policy in relation to its regulatory enforcement functions, are:
a) Licence reviews
b) The exercise of the Commission’s regulatory powers after a licence review
c) The exercise of the Commission’s other regulatory powers
See below for further details:
5.4.7 Licence reviews
Section 116 of the Act gives the Commission the power to review, over time, the performance of licence holders and the operation of licence conditions. The section provides for two different types of review.
Under section 116(1) of the Act the Commission may review matters relating to a class, or type, of licence. The purpose of such a review will be to review the manner in which a particular class of licensees carry on the licensed activities authorised by their licences, and, in particular, how the licensees in question comply with the conditions attached to the class of operating licence.
Section 116(2) of the Act gives the Commission the power to review any matter relating to an individual licence if the Commission:
a) suspects that conditions of a licence have been or are being breached
b) believes that the licence holder or any person connected with the gambling activities, has been convicted of a relevant offence in Great Britain or abroad; or
c) for any reason:
- suspects that the licence holder may be unsuitable to perform the licensed activities;
- thinks that a
A review can be carried out even if there is no suspicion or belief about the licence holder’s activities. This means that a licence could be reviewed solely on the grounds that the Commission considers a review would be appropriate. There will, however, always be a reason for a review to be commenced and the Commission will ensure that the letters sent to licensees when a review is being initiated clearly explain the grounds for the review.
5.4.8 Regulatory Powers
The Commission has regulatory powers which it can exercise without carrying out a licence review. The Act gives the Commission the power to:
a) decide to take no further action
b) decide to give the licensee advice as to conduct
c) give the licensee a warning
d) add, remove or vary a condition to the licence
e) suspend a licence
f) revoke a licence
Other regulatory powers:
g) impose a financial penalty, where the Commission thinks that a condition of a licence has been breached
h) void a bet
i) decide that a licence has lapsed if a licensee becomes incapable of carrying on the licensed activities by reason of mental or physical incapacity
j) revoke a licence for non-payment of an annual fee.
5.5 The Police
The Act creates a number of powers for police towards gambling premises and facilities. Most of these powers are shared with, for example, Commission Enforcement Officers and in some cases other authorised persons. Part 15 of the Act in particular creates a range of powers for entering premises.
Section 320 of the Act requires powers exercised under Part 15 of the Act to be exercised only at reasonable times.
Section 325 of the Act requires persons exercising powers under Part 15 of the Act to take reasonable steps to leave premises they have entered as secure as when they initially gained access.
5.5.4 Compliance activity – section 305
Police officers have powers to undertake activities for the purpose of assessing:
a) compliance with provisions of the Act;
b) whether an offence under the Act is being committed.
5.5.5 Suspected offences – section 306
Police officers have powers to enter premises where they reasonably suspect an offence under the Act:
a) is being committed on the premises;
b) is about to be committed on the premises.
5.5.6 Inspection of gambling facilities provided under an operation licence – section 308
Where police officers reasonably believe premises are being used by an operating licence holder wholly or partly for purposes connected to the licensed activities, they may enter the premises using section 308 of the Act in order to determine whether the activities are being conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence.
5.5.7 Powers upon entry sections 317 and 322
Police officers exercising their powers under section 317 of the Act to enter premises may:
a) inspect any part of the premises, any machine or any other thing on the premises;
b) question anyone on the premises;
c) request access to any written or electronic record kept on the premises require a copy of any entry made in a written or electronic record kept on the premises;
d) remove and retain anything that they believe is evidence (or is being used/ has been used) for a breach of a term or condition under the Act, or commission of an offence under the Act.
Police are a responsible authority under the Act and may request that a licensing authority reviews a particular premises licence.
5.5.8 The Gambling Act 2005, Section 319 – Records
This section sets out the specific restrictions on the powers granted to a Police Constable, Gambling Commission Enforcement Officer or authorised person in relation to written or electronic records. A Police Constable, Gambling Commission Enforcement Officer or authorised person may only inspect or seize such records without a warrant where the records relate entirely to matters to which the powers of entry relates. Where records also contain information which is unrelated to the power of entry then a warrant will be required.
5.6 Fire Authority
The Gambling Commission also provide an ordinary code provision forAny person authorised in writing by the fire authority may enter and inspect licensed premises for the purpose of ascertaining whether appropriate precautions against the danger of fire are being sufficiently observed.
5.7 Environmental Health Officer
An Environmental Health Officer or practitioner (EHO or EHP), could deal with a wide range of issues at your premises including:
a) food safety
b) environmental protection
c) pollution control
d) noise control
e) health and safety at work
f) waste management
A visit may involve:
a) inspecting businesses for health and safety, food hygiene and food standards
b) following up complaints and investigating outbreaks of food poisoning, infectious disease or pests
c) collecting samples for laboratory testing
d) enforcing environmental health laws
e) investigating accidents at work
f) giving evidence in cases that come to court
g) advising employers on all environmental health matters.
5.8 Trading Standards Officer
Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) work for local councils investigating under-age sales, advising on consumer law, investigating complaints and, if all else fails, prosecuting traders who break the law.
These laws cover a wide area, which includes:
a) consumer safety
b) counterfeit goods
c) product labelling
d) weights and measures
e) under-age sales
A visit may involve:
a) visiting local traders for routine checks or to investigate complaints
b) taking samples of goods for testing
c) checking that drink dispensing measures are accurate
d) checking that food labelling is correct and advertising is not misleading
e) advising consumers and businesses about the law
f) investigating suspected offences, which could include undercover or surveillance work
g) preparing evidence for prosecuting cases in court.
Inspection guide – Bingo
This template may assist authorised local authority officers with their compliance visits. It provides a list of the matters which are provided for as premises licence mandatory and default conditions. Additional conditions attached by the licensing authority can be added to this list. It also outlines further requirements set out in the legislation and within the codes of practice issued by the Gambling Commission. Section 153 of the Gambling Act 2005 requires Licensing Authorities to exercise its functions in accordance with relevant codes of practice and those listed in this template aim to ensure that gambling is fair and safe for all.
Gambling Act 2005
Inspection Guidance Note for Authorised Local Authority Officers
This document is intended to aid Authorised Local Authority Officers when they are carrying out compliance visits to licensed/permitted premises. It provides information to support Officers in complying with the statutory requirements regarding ‘inspections’ as provided for in regulations under the Gambling Act 2005 (SI 2007/319).
Statement on Entry
An Authorised Local Authority Officer, when visiting premises, must provide a ‘statement on entry’ which can be either verbal or written and must include specific information. The “statement on entry” should be communicated as soon as reasonably practicable to the person who appears to the Officer to be the occupier of the premises or have responsibility for their management at the time of the inspection. To fulfil the statutory requirements, a written notice is included within the “Premises Information” templates. The notice reads:
This notice is provided to inform you that any of the following persons may, following the inspection, make a request in writing for a written record of the inspection to be provided:
- Gambling Commission;
- Person present at the time of the inspection and who appears to the authorised local authority officer to be responsible for the management of the premises, or occupies the premises;
- The premises licence holder;
- Person who occupies the premises or is responsible for their management at the time of the inspection.
If a person at the premises refuses to answer a question posed by the Authorised Local Authority Officer then the Officer must verbally inform the person as follows:
“I am required to inform you that this question is being asked under the powers provided for in Section 317(1)(b) of the Gambling Act 2005 and that it is an offence under Section 326 if, without reasonable excuse, a person obstructs or fails to co-operate with the officer who is exercising or seeking to exercise a power under, or by virtue of Part 15 of the Gambling Act 2005.”
It is suggested (it is not required by the legislation) that this statement is explained with the following words:
“I am empowered by the Gambling Act 2005 to ask questions of any person on these licensed premises where it relates to assessing whether there is compliance with the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005, or to assess whether an offence under the Act is being committed. If that person obstructs or fails to co-operate with me whilst I am doing this, then an offence is being committed under the Act.”
It might be useful to add:
“The maximum penalty on summary conviction for this offence is a fine of level 3 on the standard scale which is £1500.”
Evidence of Identity
The Authorised Local Authority Officer must provide evidence of their identity and authority to a person who appears to the Officer to be the occupier of the premises or have responsibility for their management at the time of the inspection. Any person accompanying an Authorised Local Authority Officer must also provide evidence of their identity (Gambling Act 2005 Section 321 and SI 2007 / 319 paragraph 3).
Written Record of Inspection
As detailed above, listed persons may request (in writing) that the Council provides them with a written record of the inspection. This must be provided as soon as reasonably practicable and must contain the following information as specified in SI 2007/319 paragraph 6:
- the address of the premises visited;
- the name of the Authorised Local Authority Officer(s) who visited;
- the date and time the Officer entered the premises;
- the power(s) exercised to enter the premises;
- the part(s) of the premises, equipment and records inspected;
- details of anything that was removed from the premises.
A template named “Request for a Written Record of the Inspection” can be utilised to fulfil this purpose.
Ready to go?
Each Authorised Local Authority Officer will undertake inspection preparation in their own way and to levels dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the impending inspection. The checklist below details documents that it is advised you have with you during an inspection. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list.
- Your evidence of identity
- A copy of this document – “Inspection Guidance Note for Authorised Local Authority Officers”
- A copy of the relevant “Inspection template”
- A copy of the relevant “Premises Information” document (to be left at the premises)
- A copy of the Premises Licence application and any appropriate supporting documents
- A copy of the Premises Licence
- A copy of the premises plan
- A copy of the Gambling Act 2005 and the Consolidated Gambling Codes of Practice.