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Time To Apply For The New Gambling Licences

21st February 2007

New laws come into effect later this year which mean that anyone who wants to run a gambling business in Scotland, including local betting shops, amusement arcades, bingo halls and casinos, must apply for a licence.

The Gambling Commission will be responsible for licensing and regulating gambling in Britain under the Gambling Act 2005 which comes into force on 1 September 2007. For the first time, the betting and internet gambling industries will come under the regulator's
power.

"If you provide commercial facilities for gambling in Britain you will have to be licensed by the Commission, it is as simple as that," said Hazel Canter, the Commission's Director of Licensing and Compliance.

"Local bookmakers and other smaller operators may find the new system difficult to manage at first but the application forms and guidance notes are comprehensive. Further information is on our website and we will help and support operators in the early stages to get it right, particularly those in sectors new to being regulated by us."

There are three categories of licence - operating, personal and premises - and businesses may need all three. The Commission will issue operating and personal licences, while local licensing authorities will be responsible for issuing premises licences.

Examples of operators requiring a licence include: anyone operating a casino; providing facilities for bingo, betting, and pool betting; acting as a betting intermediary; making gaming machines available for use in adult gaming centres or family entertainment centres; manufacturing, supplying, installing, adapting, maintaining or repairing a gaming machine, part of a gaming machine, and producing gambling software; and promoting a lottery.

In considering an application for an operating licence, the Commission will look at how the operator will meet the three licensing objectives of keeping crime out of gambling, ensuring that gambling is fair and open, and protecting children and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

Hazel Canter added: "New operators can make their applications now. Existing operators can continue working beyond 1 September 2007 as long as their operating licence applications are with the Commission before 27 April 2007. Similarly any premises licence applications need to be made by 31 July to guarantee continued operation by existing operators. Applications may be made for premises licences to
the local licensing authority from 21 May 2007."

Applicants, both operators and individuals will be assessed on five issues - identity, suitability, including competence, criminality, finances and their compliance with the licensing objectives. Once licensed all operators will need to conduct their business in
line with the Commission's licence conditions and codes of practice.

Further information on applying for a licence can be found on the Commission's website at: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/Client/detail.asp?ContentId=108

The Gambling Commission was set up in October 2005 under the Gambling Act 2005, and has taken over the role of the Gaming Board for Great Britain in regulating casinos, bingo, gaming machines and lotteries. From September 2007 it will also have responsibility for regulating betting and remote gambling. The Commission will have
significant new legal powers to monitor the industry and to prosecute illegal gambling. It will also advise central and local government on issues related to gambling.

Operator Licences will be required for anyone who provides or wishes to provide facilities for gambling and/or to manufacture, supply install, repair or adapt a gaming machine or gambling software (unless an exception applies) on or after 1 September 2007.

Personal Licences fall into two categories, personal management licences where a person occupies a specified management office, and personal functional licences for individuals who perform any function which enables them to influence the outcome of gambling, or relating to the receiving or paying of money in connection with
gambling.

Premises Licences are needed when providing gambling services to the public from fixed premises rather than online (remotely). The local licensing authority where the premises are situated is responsible for ensuring that premises are approved for gambling.

Smaller operators who are exempted by the small-scale operator exemption will not require either personal management or personal function licences as part of their application. A small-scale operator is where there are no more than three qualifying positions (i.e. for a personal management licence) in the commercial gambling
business.

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