SBC News Scottish councils given a nudge over their licensing functions
Nick Tofiluk

Scottish councils given a nudge over their licensing functions

Nick Tofiluk
Nick Tofiluk

The UK Gambling Commission has published an update to its advice note – The Role of Authorised Persons – Scotland – to communicate the regulator’s view on Authorised People to local councils and authorities north of the border.

UKGC comments that authorised persons in Scotland – including police officers and officers of licensing authorities – have an important role to play in ensuring all gambling operators comply with the Gambling Act 2005.

The updated note provides clarification on two issues:

  • Authorised persons are already operating within local authorities in Scotland by virtue of their existing powers – for example, environmental health officers authorised by local authorities will already be authorised persons. The note highlights that, “It is a matter for local authorities and Licensing Boards to consider how those officers are currently discharging their statutory functions under the Gambling Act”
  • Authorised persons, irrespective of the basis of which they are authorised, can act with legal authority under the Gambling Act 2005. For example, “Once authorised for health or prevention of pollution purposes, Licensing Standards Officers (LSOs) are also authorised under the Act and can (and should) rely on the enforcement powers in the Act to regulate gambling in their area.”

A Gambling Commission spokesperson said: “The updated Advice Note is intended to provide additional clarification on the role of authorised persons to licensing authorities and councils in Scotland in meeting their responsibilities under the Gambling Act 2005.

“We would ask that the licensing authorities in Scotland and local councils consider how their existing officers, who are authorised persons in terms of the Gambling Act, are currently discharging their statutory functions under the Act, particularly in relation to the protection of young and vulnerable people.”

Meanwhile a man who took bets over the phone without an operating licence has been ordered to carry out 80 hours unpaid community work and pay £2,000 in legal costs.

David Lawson, 58, of Main Street, Cockermouth, admitted providing illegal gambling facilities from an address in Cockermouth between September 2014 and January 2015, at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.

District Judge Robert Zara sentenced Lawson to a 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work.  He also ordered Lawson to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and £2,000 towards the Gambling Commission’s legal costs.

The case was prosecuted by the Gambling Commission with assistance from Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria Constabulary.

Nick Tofiluk, Director of Regulation at the Commission, said: “This is a good example of the Commission, Allerdale Borough Council and Cumbria Constabulary working together to stop unlicensed gambling.

“We would like to warn members of the public that many of the safeguards in place to ensure that gambling is fair and open may be missing when dealing with unlicensed operators. Details of all operators licensed by us are published on our website.”

Detective Sergeant Hayley Wilkinson, of Cumbria Constabulary, said: “We always welcome working with other agencies to bring offenders to justice and I am pleased that this joint operation with the Gambling Commission led to a positive result.”

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