In this article Andy Woods reports that the Gambling Commission has won its appeal in the Upper Tribunal, which has ruled that the Gambling Commission acted within its powers when refusing Greene King a bingo operating licence.
I have written a number of articles in the last two or three years about Bingo Operating Licences and indeed we have successfully applied for Bingo Operating Licences to the Gambling Commission within the last twelve months. Greene King, a pub operator, applied for a Bingo Operating Licence to the Gambling Commission to enable them to provide bingo facilities and Category B gaming machines in a pub environment. Greene King only applied for a Category A Operating Licence which would only permit a small number of premises to be able to operate with bingo, and the application was refused by the Gambling Commission. Greene King appealed against the Gambling Commission decision and was successful in its appeal but subsequently the Gambling Commission appealed to the Upper Tribunal and after waiting several months for the decision, it was announced on 10 February 2016 that the Upper Tribunal had found in favour of the Gambling Commission and had in particular found that it acted within its powers when refusing Greene King a Bingo Operating Licence to provide promotional bingo in its pubs.
A full judgment has only just been issued and I will report in more detail on the full judgment in the next article but the judge at the Upper Tribunal found that the Gambling Commission had the authority to refuse an application if it considered that the granting of the application would not be reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives.
I have to say I am disappointed with what has been decided because I was expecting that Upper Tribunal to rule on whether the actual decision not to grant Greene King its licence was correct or not, based on all the facts and evidence before the Upper Tribunal. It appears that the Upper Tribunal has simply ruled that the Gambling Commission has the authority to refuse applications if it considers that those applications would not be consistent with the licensing objectives. We all knew that before this appeal took place!
The case is now being sent back to the First Tier Tribunal for reconsideration and we will wait to see what progress is made at that stage. I will, however, do a full report of the judgment in the next article.