Wandsworth Gambling Policy Review 2018

Closed 9 Oct 2018

Opened 13 Aug 2018

Overview

The London Borough of Wandsworth is calling on local residents, licensed businesses, interest groups, faith groups and public agencies to have their say on the borough’s future gambling policy.

The Gambling Act 2005 requires all licensing authorities to prepare and publish a Gambling Act Statement of Policy and Principles every three years. A review of the current policy, which is due to expire in January 2019, is now underway.


Please click here to view the Draft Gambling Act Statement of Policy and Principles.
The changes we are proposing are clearly indicated in the document. Please click here to view the Ward Profiles.

The closing date for submitting consultation responses is 9 October 2018.


Background to the Gambling Policy

The Gambling Act 2005 (the Act) gives licensing authorities various regulatory functions in relation to gambling. The main functions of licensing authorities include:

  • issuing premises licences (in respect of casinos, bingo premises, betting shops, tracks, adult gaming centres, family entertainment centres)
  • considering notices given for the temporary use of premises for gambling
  • granting permits for gaming and gaming machines in clubs and in alcohol licensed premises
  • granting permits to family entertainment centres for the use of certain lower stake gaming machines

The Gambling Act is based on three overriding objectives -

  •    Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime;
  •    Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way;
  •    Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

The Draft Gambling Act Statement of Policy and Principles explains this Authority’s position in respect of the objectives and informs the decision making on whether to grant an application, whether to add any, and if so, what conditions and whether and how to interfere on review.

Licensing policies must be prepared in accordance with the Act. Guidance issued by the Gambling Commission prescribes the information that must be included in the policy, but the policy must also reflect local circumstances hence the importance of local consultation.

Proposed Gambling Policy 2019 - 2022

Since the licensing function was transferred from the Magistrate’s Court in 2007, this Authority has not seen a proliferation of new gambling outlets in the Borough. Neither have we received many complaints about the operation of gambling premises. However, our policies have reflected our commitment to ensuring that children and vulnerable persons are protected from harm or being exploited by gambling.

This Authority has long been concerned about the impact of the high stake Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in betting shops and the consequent clustering of betting shops in the most deprived areas of boroughs. We have lobbied Government seeking a reduction in the maximum stake for these machines and asking for greater powers to refuse applications in areas where there is already a high concentration of gambling outlets.

The Government has indicated its support for a reduction in the maximum stake for FOBTs, although we do not yet know the timescale for this, but does not intend to give local authorities any additional powers, instead seeking to rely on planning policy and gambling policy to combat potential clustering. It is, therefore, important that the Gambling Policy adequately addresses our concerns and highlights the responsibility requirements on gambling operators to carry out local risk assessments.

Risk assessment and local area profiles

Nationally, gambling policy and the regulatory environment overall has an increasing focus on risk.  Whilst not compulsory, it is recommended that a licensing authority creates a ‘local area profile’ to inform its understanding of risk and to allow appropriate decisions to be made and steps taken to mitigate these risks. From April 2016, gambling establishment operators have been required to undertake ‘local area risk assessments’ for all their premises and are expected to give due consideration to the information available in the Council’s ‘local area profile’. 

Although not a compulsory requirement, we included local area profiles in the current policy. We have updated these profiles in the proposed policy as it is our view that the inclusion of area profiles facilitates constructive engagement with licensees and assist the operators to identify and control local risks. For example, if a gambling outlet is to be located within close proximity to a school we would expect licensees to have sufficient controls in place to mitigate associated risks, e.g. implementing a robust challenge 25 policy and ensuring that the premises is so designed that children cannot see gambling taking place.

No casino policy

We are also seeking your views on whether we should continue the Council’s ‘no casino’ policy.  In 2007, we concluded that a casino would not be appropriate given that this Borough is predominantly residential in nature and a casino would be out of character to the area. A casino in one town centre would give rise to an imbalance in competing town centre economies whilst a location outside of the town centres would be detrimental to all five town centres. Whilst there is extensive development taking place this will not alter the general character of the Borough and consequently it is proposed to reconfirm the ‘no casino’ policy.

How to respond
We would welcome your views on the above issues and to hear about any other changes you would wish to see in the policy and your reasons for them.

Please give us your views using the online survey below, but if you would like a paper copy, please contact us at consult@wandsworth.gov.uk 

Alternatively you can email licensing@wandsworth.gov.uk or send written responses to:

Wandsworth Council, Chief Executive’s Directorate, Environmental Services, Public Health, Town Hall  Wandsworth High Street. London SW18 2PU

Any comments you send should clearly state your name, any organisation or persons you may be responding on behalf of and your address.

The consultation runs until the 9 October 2018.

Next steps

We will then consider all the responses and amend the proposed policy as appropriate. The updated policy will then be considered by the Licensing Committee in November 2018 and by full Council in December 2018.

It should be noted that the Gambling Commission Guidance advises that demand for gambling premises and morality issues are not considerations under this legislation. Therefore the authority will not be in a position to consider any comments of this nature.

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Residents
  • Black and minority ethnic groups
  • Businesses
  • Carers
  • Children
  • Community groups
  • Gay, lesbian and bisexual people
  • Men
  • Older people
  • Parents
  • People with disabilities
  • People with learning disabilities
  • People with mental health issues
  • Service users
  • Staff
  • Transgender people
  • Visitors and tourists
  • Voluntary groups
  • Women
  • Young people
  • Members
  • Developers
  • Partners
  • Service providers
  • Childminders
  • Open to all
  • Landlords
  • Schools
  • Richmond Card holders
  • Customers

Interests

  • Wandsworth Borough