Section 349 of the Gambling Act 2005 requires each Licensing Authority in England and Wales to determine and publish its Policy Statement on the exercise of its gambling functions every three years.
This Policy sets out the approach that Wigan Council intends to take in carrying out its licensing duties under the Gambling Act 2005. The Policy covers the licensing of gambling premises as well as functions in relation to certain types of gaming machines in other premises and the provision of small society lotteries within this Borough. It also identifies how the Council when carrying out its licensing duties will seek to promote the ‘licensing objectives’ referred to in the Act, namely:-
- Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime and disorder or being used to support crime;
- Ensuring gambling is conducted in a fair and open way;
- Protecting children and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
The Policy Statement will come into effect on 4 January 2016 and will be subject to review and further consultation no later than 3 January 2019. It may be reviewed in the interim.
We hope that this Policy Statement provides practical guidance to local residents, visitors and businesses - large and small - on gambling, gaming and lottery licensing issues in Wigan Borough.
The Council will work in close partnership with individuals and organisations having a responsibility under the Gambling Act 2005. This includes organisations such as the Police and Fire Service, the Gambling Commission, licensees and certificate holders, businesses, residents and their representatives.
Views on gambling differ widely but it must be stressed that the Council in dealing with the applications it receives can only look at issues in relation to the three licensing objectives referred to above. It is not for this Council to make a judgement in respect of the benefits or otherwise of gambling. The Council will simply do its best to ensure that such gambling that does take place within this Borough is carried out in accordance with the licensing objectives contained in the Gambling Act 2005.
However, the Council is concerned at the potential effects of excessive use of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) by customers who may be least able to afford to lose cash, coupled with the speed and ease with which they can gamble compared with other forms of gambling. The Council therefore supports any campaign to reduce the stake on FOBTs to a maximum of £2 per spin.
We will endeavour to co-ordinate and manage an efficient and effective licensing system, which achieves and maintains the objectives of the Gambling Act 2005 for the benefit of the whole community.
Please contact us if you have any questions about this policy.