The Senior Practitioner (Licensing), Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), presented a report on the subject of the Statement of Principles for the Gambling Act.
The Committee was informed that the Council was a Licensing Authority under the terms of the Gambling Act. As such, the Council could issue licences for a diverse range of related services, including small society lotteries, gaming machines and bingo halls.
The Council was required to have a Statement of Principles, under the terms of the Gambling Act. This Statement of Principles had to be refreshed by the Council every three years. The Council had previously agreed the existing Statement of Principles in 2018. The new Statement of Principles would need to be approved in time to come into effect from January 2022 onwards.
There had been very few changes to gambling legislation or to the statutory guidance to Licensing Authorities issued by the Gambling Commission since 2018. Therefore, Officers were anticipating that only minor changes would be required to the Council’s Statement of Principles. This included:
· Amendments to the introduction to update factual information, such as details relating to local demographics.
· Making reference to the Safeguarding Children Partnership in respect of that body’s role as a consultee on matters relating to children and young people.
· The inclusion of information about the new Betting and Gaming Council, which had been formed following the merger of the previous British Bookmakers and Casino Forum organisations.
In reviewing the Statement of Principles, the Council was required to consult with a number of responsible bodies. This included Public Health England, Worcestershire County Council and West Mercia Police. The consultation process would be advertised in the local press and on the Council’s website. As only minor changes were likely to be required, Officers were proposing that the consultation period should be six to eight weeks in length. The feedback received during the consultation process would be reported for Members’ consideration at a meeting of the Licensing Committee later in the year.
Following the presentation of the report, Members discussed the decision-making process that would need to be followed in terms of updating the Statement of Principles. Members were advised that the Licensing Committee would review the consultation feedback and proposed changes at a meeting on 8th November but did not have the authority to determine the final content of the Statement of Principles. Instead, recommendations would need to be made by the Licensing Committee to the Council meeting due to take place on 15th November, where a final decision would be taken.
Members noted that the documents provided contained the changes suggested by Officers but these had not been specifically highlighted. To ensure clarity for Members, it was agreed that a copy of the draft policy detailing the changes in track changes, should be circulated for Members’ consideration after the meeting.
During consideration of this item, Members noted that at paragraphs 10.5 and 10.6 of the draft policy reference was made to the role of the Public Health team in terms of assisting the Licensing Authority. Members agreed that these paragraphs should specify that Worcestershire County Council’s Public Health team was the relevant body that was referred to in this instance.
that subject to the amendment detailed in the preamble above, to approve the revised draft Statement of Principles for the purpose of consultation with relevant parties.