BE AWARE..DO NOT GAMBLE YOUR LICENCE AWAY.
Understanding the Law is simple…let me explain. To start, Commercial betting in pubs is illegal. Both the bookie and the licensee will be committing an offence if the bookie takes bets from punters. The bookie risks their licence, a fine or imprisonment. The licensee or designated premises supervisor (DPS) risks prosecution if they allow premises to be used to provide facilities for betting.
There are also circumstances where the pub may act as an illegal betting intermediary. If either the DPS or a member of staff collects betting slips and delivers them to the betting shop on behalf of customers, or accepts stakes on behalf of bookmakers, they would be committing an offence. In addition, it is also illegal for an agent of a bookmaker to take bets in a pub or the licensee to ring through customer bets on his or her own account with a bookmaker.
The Gambling Commission reported that during the Cheltenham Festival, evidence of commercial betting was found in premises in Hertfordshire, York and Hull and there were a number of prosecutions where not only were the bookmakers convicted and fined but the pub landlords too, after allowing premises to be used to provide facilities for betting.
The Commission has issued formal warnings to a number of licensed bookmakers for accepting bets in pubs and many places have been warned about betting activity by the commission and the local authorities. In most cases a warning is likely. If, however, the activity is significant or continues following a warning, a prosecution may follow. This could lead up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment in England and Wales, or 6 months in Scotland and/or fine of up to £5,000 for each offence.
And finally, what is allowed? Customers can place bets via their mobiles or laptops but they can only do so on their own account. You can have betting slips in pubs but customers should complete the slips and take them to the betting shop themselves. You can run a sweep stake or free competition. You can also run a charity event.
There are bookmakers suggesting that you could use an occasional use notice (OUN). These permit tracks and sporting venues to allow bookies on to premises to take bets. They have been used in pubs but this concerned the Gambling Commission and local authorities. There are risks. The commission has said a sporting event that is televised at a premises does not constitute a sporting event taking place and an OUN may not be obtained on that basis. If you are approached with regards to obtaining an OUN I suggest you seek legal advice.
To talk about fruit machine hire or jukebox rental and any licences required for these machines please call us at Comrie Automatics and we will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.