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Government Approve Extra Hours for Platinum Jubilee Celebrations

After consultation, the Government has decided that it will be proceeding with a proposal to make a Licensing Hours Order under Section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003. It has been confirmed that the licensing hours in England and Wales (this is not applicable to Scotland) will be relaxed to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and to celebrate the longest reigning monarch in the United Kingdom.

The order will apply to premises already licensed until 2300hrs for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises, for the provision of late-night refreshment (only where there is also the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises), and for the provision of regulated entertainment in England and Wales. This, therefore, would not apply to takeaways who only had late night refreshment on their premises licence and does not apply at all to premises in Scotland.

The extension of hours will apply to Thursday 2nd June, Friday 3rd June and Saturday 4th June, whereby the terminal hour will be extended from 2300hrs to 0100hrs the following day.

This may alleviate the need for applying for a Temporary Event Notice (“TEN”)for many premises.

Should it be felt that longer hours are required for later than the 0100 extension, then please do reach out to the Woods Whur team in order to submit a Temporary Event Notice for this, or any other period. By way of a reminder, a standard TEN requires 10 working days notice and a late TEN at least 5 working days notice. We would, therefore, urge you to let us have the relevant details should you wish to apply for any TENs.

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The Latest Gambling Commission Fines and Decisions in Relation to Social Responsibility and Anti-Money Laundering

As we enter a new financial year a few operators will be rubbing their heads as they eye up the fines issued by the Gambling Commission over the last few months. One of the more notable, although seemingly not directly relevant for the vast majority of operators, being the £3.15 million levied at Camelot UK Limited for failures relating to its mobile app. Whilst the fine for the soon to be outgoing national lottery operator is both relatively small and not relatable for a number of operators- it is important to look behind the headlines and discover what reasons, or failings, have been identified.

In the case of Camelot, the failings are actually multi-operator relevant. The first two failings relate to technological issues- a warning to operators that the regulator is interested in and will investigate such failures. Remembers changes to gambling facilities will likely be a key event notification.

The third failing is of particular note, the operator failed to prevent marketing messages going out to individuals who had self-excluded. Perhaps even more noteworthy is the fact none of those who had the marketing messages sent to them were then able to participate in the lottery. This goes some way to demonstrate the need for effective systems in place throughout, one failing did not lead to another arguable larger, failing. In the circumstances the Commission decided that whilst there were issues to address, ‘There was no evidence of reckless or negligent behaviour presented and nor was there any attempt to conceal’ in relation to governance and controls.

Sky Betting and Gaming also came under the spotlight this month for issues of self-exclusion, with a number of their own self-excluded customers receiving promotional marketing material. The Commission followed this fine up with a warning to all operators to check their policies and procedures are robust enough to prevent any occurrences of self-excluded customers being contacted in such a way. Such failings are in direct contravention of SRCP 3.5.3(2) which states that Licensees must, as soon as practicable, take all reasonable steps to prevent any marketing material being sent to a self-excluded customer.

Larger fines for wider failings relating to social responsibility and anti-money laundering handed out this month provide some hidden and helpful guidance for operators. With a great deal of anti-money laundering guidance being risk based, any operators seeking more practical guidance may find the news section of the Gambling Commission website of great use.

Take for example the finding of not effectively identifying players at risk of harm because their policies determined financial checks should be carried out after a customer had deposited £40,000. This is a clear steer to amend procedures to carry out such checks before a customer is allowed to play. Similarly the findings provide some useful tips of what is not acceptable in terms of customer interactions. Customer interactions of course vary from operator to operator and venue to venue, with so many factors at play determining how such an interaction is to be carried out. Some ‘what not to do’s’ are useful for staff training as well as updating policies-

  • Failing to establish adequate financial limits and spends as triggers
  • Not making customers aware of the full range of tools and options available to self-limit
  • Not conducting proactive analysis of spend
  • An email to customers without any further interaction required.

The most prominent findings in the case against Genesis Global Limited related to ‘meaningful’ customer interactions and only asking questions after the event. Once again a reminder for operators to use the Gambling Commissions guidance on customer interactions (identify-interact-evaluate) and ensure their staff are carrying out thorough interactions with customers. Being proactive is another key theme over the last couple of months, there is a lot of technology available to assist operators which can be explored- but as Camelot has demonstrated be careful not to rely solely on technology, if it fails a backup will be needed.

The need to evidence policies in practice is hammered home again by these findings. It is not enough to have a set of perfectly drafted policies and procedures gathering dust, they must be implemented and operators need to be able to evidence this.

Keep up to date with the latest news by signing up to the Gambling Commissions newsletter on their website and the Woods Whur newsletter by emailing us at

For any gambling related queries please contact your usual Woods Whur contact or or

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Leeds Licensing Red Zone – Possible Changes

Through a new Police and Public Health backed scheme, operators in the Leeds City Council designated ‘Red’ Cumulative Impact Zone, may see that their premises are taken out of the Red status.

The Red Cumulative Impact Zones within the City Centre are based on the amount of crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour, public disorder instances and general drunkenness in that area. It is not connected to individual premises, but the area itself.

The Police and operators have been trying to work out ways of reducing the associated issues in the Red areas for many years. Should this be achieved then it would allow them to be taken out of the Red areas.  This would ‘pave the way’ for new applications, applications for extra hours, extra floor space with additional capacity, etc, without automatic objections from West Yorkshire Police and Leeds City Council.

The West Yorkshire Violent Crime Reduction Unit and West Yorkshire Public Health Reducing Violent Crime Network are offering to fund places on a new scheme called ‘Licensing SAVI’ (Licensing Security And Vulnerability Initiative) which is to be offered out free of charge to alcohol led premises in the Red zone of the City Centre. The Licensing SAVI scheme encourages venues to improve their operational security and management practices year on year using an online self-assessment.  This includes all the Police and Council licensing information that venues need to meet statutory licensing requirement for safety and security. Venues can be awarded a star rating, and apply for Licensing SAVI accreditation.

The Police are hopeful that if all alcohol led venues sign up to do these online self-assessments and achieve accreditation, that crime will reduce in the Red areas and ultimately Leeds City Council should be able to do away with the Red areas in the city.

The Police are urging ‘buy-in’ from everyone in the Red areas. It will see a structured way of all operators working together to achieve a common goal that will benefit all.

Those premises that sign up will receive 4 points off their licensing matrix score, plus a further 4 points off should they receive accreditation. All operators who wish to benefit from the scheme should let the West Yorkshire Police Licensing Team have an expression of interest as soon as possible.

If this is introduced and it does, as hoped, lead to a reduction in crime this will be of a real benefit to all, not just the operators of Leeds but also those that frequent the great city.

Further free places will be offered to the rest of the city once the results of the Red Zone pilot scheme have been assessed

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Westminster City Council ‘Revised’ Gambling Policy

Westminster City Council (WCC) were required to review and revise their gambling policy before 30 January 2022 under the Gambling Act 2005. WCC carried out a consultation on two proposals, the first being to make some revisions to the current version of the gambling policy. The second element of the consultation was the proposal to publish a completely new and far lengthier version of the gambling policy in early 2022.

This article relates to the revisions made by WCC. Following that consultation, WCC adopted the revised statement of principles for gambling within Westminster on the 10 November 2021. The revised statement took effect from 31 January 2022 and all subsequent determinations of any gambling applications will be considered under this revised statement.

It is currently unknown when the new lengthier version of the gambling policy will come into force, but it is thought that it will be in the very near future.

Changes in the Revised Gambling Policy

Overall, there appear to be few changes made within the revised policy, however, they are worth bringing to the attention of readers:

Paragraph 3 – Westminster’s Geographical Area

The revised policy sees an update to this section. The previous statement dealt purely with the geographical area.  However, the revised policy now has three paragraphs relating to the gambling industry, including confirmation that the gambling industry contributes significantly to the UK economy. Further paragraphs go on to state that the council recognises that good management of its gambling industry is essential to continued success of central London.  It sets out that it expects licence operators to demonstrate best practice by being responsible, open, inclusive and equal operators. This section also touches on the vulnerable and that Westminster has a mid-level of reported demand and usage of treatment for problem gamblers.

Paragraph 6 – Gambling Risk Assessments

The previous statement had a section that refers readers to the vulnerability maps and access to Geofutures’ map case tool. In the revised version, it states that since the publication of Geofutures’ reports, several other research studies have been undertaken into the impact of gambling on the vulnerable. WCC has revised the Gambling Vulnerability Index devised by Geofutures to take into account new findings and more recent data on the resident population and services within the city that may indicate at risk groups. These findings can now be found within the council’s Local Area Profile, with a new link to this.

The only other minor amendments relate to the removal of images that were linked to the division of premises and access between premises.  In addition there is a different list of bodies consulted for the revised policy in 2021, and indeed an updated responsible authorities list.

These changes are not significant but should be considered by operators who may be attending Licensing Sub-Committee hearings to ensure that the relevant vulnerability indexes are consulted and dealt with accordingly.

Please see link to the revised policy:

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A Reminder on Prize Competitions

It might be the increase in working remotely, or the pandemic causing more day dreaming, but once again prize competitions and lotteries are on everyone’s mind.

A lottery requires a licence if there is a requirement to pay to enter and the prizes are awarded wholly on chance. This describes a simple lottery, a complex lottery can follow a series of processes to allocate prizes, with just the first step relying wholly on chance.

If you remove the element of chance, it becomes a prize competition.

Prize competitions require an element of skill and knowledge in order to be exempt from the requirement to hold a licence. The biggest question is therefore what qualifies as skill and knowledge. In order to qualify, it must require enough skill or knowledge so as to prevent a significant portion of those entered from winning a prize, or simply prevent a significant portion of people from entering.

As a rule of thumb anything which is widely known, can be found on the same page as the question or is easily searched won’t qualify. Similarly if it is a multiple choice question for which you can have multiple attempts, that won’t cut it either.

But in an age of google in your pocket, surely anything can be easily searched? The Gambling Commission gives an example of a crossword puzzle on the back of a newspaper as being a good example of a prize competition. On the face of it this is understandable, it requires time and effort to complete a number of difficult questions. But what if the questions are not complicated?

It is clear that the validity of a prize competition will turn on the facts of each individual case. For example a maths questions seems like a good option, but a simple maths question follows the same as the above. If it does not require skill and knowledge which a significant portion of those entering will not possess, it will not qualify.

In the event a prize competition is deemed to be a lottery, it will require a licence and the competition will be halted.

Now, to confuse things, you might be thinking “I’ve definitely seen prize competitions which couldn’t possible qualify!”. Chances are such competitions are actually using the free entry route. If the competition question asks the reader to decide whether 2+2 is a) 3, b) 4, or c) 5… this is clearly not a question of skill or knowledge. However you must next look at how the entry is made. Remember; the requirements for a lottery are that it relies wholly on chance AND there is a requirement to pay. If you have not paid, it is not a lottery.

Such questions frequently have an entry route which costs, for example £5, and entry can be made by text, online or over the phone. However you can also enter by first class post and no further cost will be needed. This qualifies as a free entry route.

There are some intricacies of the free entry route- it must be clearly visible and on a par with the paid entry route, it must still be convenient and the costs must be at a normal rate (first class post- not special delivery). The most important point to note is that people must be able to choose to take part without paying and the prizes must not be allocated with any reliance on how entries were made.

A free entry route can be utilised for commercial purposes.

If any of the above interests or alarms you please feel free to contact Amanda Usher at or Andrew Woods at for more information or to discuss a situation.

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Are we seeing green shoots in the leisure sector?

As we approach the second anniversary of lockdown, when Andy Woods and I wondered whether we would still have a business after COVID, we are starting to see significant green shoots as operators come out of hibernation and fight back.

Even last year when we came out of the lockdowns and tiered system, there were significant difficulties in reopening of premises with the late night sector struggling to get traction with the government to be able to reopen at all.

It appears that we are now in a position where we are “living with COVID.” Surely that has to be the right approach generally, but certainly in relation to the leisure sector. I couldn’t quite understand how I could be going to see Pete Tong and Ibiza Classics at the O2 Arena in London in December whilst there were still talks of entering a further lockdown.

Having just visited France, I have seen how efficient their COVID passport works in getting into restaurants and licensed premises. We never seemed to get to that level of efficiency, but thankfully all of that now seems to be behind us in the UK.

It is unbelievably busy across all of our sectors now. We are seeing quality operators capable of investing in new premises, and receptive licensing authorities, who are even putting their cumulative impact policies on ice whilst they look to generate significant leisure opportunities in their town and city centres.

We are very fortunate in that we act for a number of high quality operators who have engaged in pre-application communications with responsible authorities in a number of town and city centres, and we have received receptive responses from all – even though some applications have still received representations and are going to hearings.

There are significantly large retail units which have come on the market, such as Debenhams units, and other large retailers. We are also fortunate to represent some large competitive socialising operators who need significantly more space to offer everything within their entertainment venues. Again, we have seen some fabulous new instructions in relation to this in Birmingham, Leeds, York and Brighton.

The festival and event space is always a fabulous space to be involved in. We have some major clients in this space, and are currently instructed in relation to new festival and event spaces all over the country, including Leeds, Yorkshire and multiple areas within and around London. These multi-use sites ranging from seasonal to significant events involve huge pre-planning and negotiation with all responsible authorities and regularly through safety advisory group meetings, including applying for road closures, liaising with transport operators and neighbours. They are the most interesting applications to be involved in, and particularly detailed. We are, on the whole, receiving positive responses to the applications that we are currently involved in.

The gambling sector continues to be particularly busy with machine operators picking up lots of the redundant betting sites nationally, and also banks and other spare retail spaces on the High Street. We do receive significant concern and regular objections to these applications, and many go before Committee due to the potential issues with vulnerable people and underage gamblers. It is critically import in all of these applications to ensure that operators understand their duties under the Gambling Act and ancillary regulations, and can take into account the local nuances surrounding their application sites. Again, we do not see this sector slowing down for the rest of the year.

It is also worthy of note, with the current Ukraine crisis, to see how many of our operators have gone public in refusing to sell Russian branded vodka and drinks. This is something that we see as potentially growing moving forward, one operator changing the name of their Moscow Mule to a Kiev Mule.

We have been liaising with the Night Time Industry Association and are looking forward to attending their event in Bristol on 7th and 8th April. Michael and his team have been phenomenal proponents and supporters of the night time sector during the most difficult 2 years, and we are excited to be involved. If this is something you are interested in then please register at

We look forward to seeing you there.

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Institute of Licensing Gambling Conference 06 October 2021

Chris Rees-Gay and Amanda Usher had the pleasure of attending the first in person Institute of Licensing Gambling Conference post Covid on 06 October 2021.

A good turn out in the Grosvenor Casino in Manchester, speakers included representatives from the Gambling Commission, GamCare, a Local Authority and the industry. It was lovely to see everyone together in real life again.

First up GamCare took us through the relatively new Safer Gambling Standard and its pros and cons for both operators and local authorities. An interesting idea, and one which some operators have already invested in, however not one without problems. At the cost of the operator, GamCare will assess the practices and procedures of said operator before deciding whether to give it a seal of approval. A useful marker for local authorities when inspecting premises, however not accredited or approved by the Gambling Commission. Concerns were raised about the potential issues, including the costs involved and the actual benefit to such a sticker in the window.

GamCare do have some extremely useful resources for both operators and local authorities, including statistical data of problem gamblers and self-assessment tools (

Concerns were also raised as to the financial viability of such a venture for many operators, particularly independents. Between the costs of the assessment itself, and the increased RET contributions, many were worried about operators being marked down for not having the stamp of approval.

A representative from a local authority then provided invaluable insight into their experiences of handling contested gambling premises applications. Faced with an application they felt was inadequate, the local authority discussed the trials and tribulations of what they described as the complexities of gambling applications.

The general feeling in the room from the representatives of various local authorities is that contested gambling application are rare beasts… this is certainly not the experience of Woods Whur!

For this particular application, the council felt under a great deal of pressure due to the lack of information provided by the operator, with no operating schedule (unlike in alcohol licensing), basic plans (in accordance with the legislation) and no pre application engagement from the operator.

The Gambling Commission gave a handy summary of the self-exclusion scheme, as well as stressing the importance of customer interaction. The need for robust and workable policies and procedures is now more important than ever, with the majority of current reviews being based, or at least including, customer interaction and responsible gambling failings. The most useful titbit to come from the Gambling Commission is their current opinion of thresholds for customer interactions, being that they are nearly always too high and intervention is happening too late.

Customer interaction policies and procedures must be outcome based to be effective and they must be adhered to. As always- recording is key and this was reiterated. If in doubt; write it down.

The Gambling Commission is struggling for resources, as the industry is aware, and both local authorities and operators are missing their physical presence across the country. It is hoped the increased application fees will help to alleviate some pressure and provide the Commission with some much needed additional resources.

The Gambling Commission also indicated they will be reviewing and updating the inspection guides (

The open discussion, which included a panel made up of all of the speakers, was of particular interest. The Gambling Act review is of course at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and a great deal of discussion ensued regarding the possibility of a fourth licensing objective, namely public health. First brought up by the Local Authority early on in the day, many felt that input from their public health teams would be valuable, both when dealing with applications and for contested hearings. Also discussed but to no avail was the issue of gambling related training and the Gambling Commission’s reluctance to accredit, approve or indeed acknowledge any training courses. The operators are left to fend for themselves, which is particularly pertinent given the recent treatment of the PML holders at Caesars.

A legal round up was provided with particular focus on affordability and the upcoming review. It is always interesting to note what sort of problems are felt across the board, and at the moment the biggest problem for everyone is the issue of affordability. It was pointed out that if affordability becomes any more of an issue, gambling will be the only leisure activity for which a regulator can dictate how much a customer is allowed to spend.

The Gambling Act review is naturally capturing the industry’s imagination at the moment, with questions being posed as to which direction it might go in. A complete overhaul? Some tweaks here and there? Almost unanimously the room felt the addition of a definition of ‘vulnerability’ would go a long way to clearing up confusion surrounding the third licensing objection- the protection of children and vulnerable persons. The biggest dividing feature of the current Gambling Act, and consequently its place in any review, are the words ‘aim to permit’ in section 153… no guesses for who comes down on which side!

A major casino operator provided the context for the day. With clear and concise explanations of their business, the day to day struggles of a casino operator and where the big problems lie for operators in current times, it presented much needed balance for the day. The practical application of the rules and regulations is of most importance to operators, and the difficulties surrounding affordability were highlighted, in particular the difficulty in obtaining documents from customers. Many individuals are insulted, and quite often nervous, when asked to supply personal documents of a confidential nature.

The day was rounded off with a tour of the Casino- I don’t think anyone had a flutter but you never know!

If you have any queries on the above or any other gambling related matter please contact Chris Rees-Gay (  or Amanda Usher (


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GUIDANCE NOTE – Online draws and raffles promoted by members of the public with proceeds going to a society

The Gambling Commission (GC) national strategic assessment has recognised the increasing presence of ‘social media lotteries’ and the increasingly prominent risk of exposure to unlicensed gambling.

Social media lotteries are a growing issue due to their increasing presence on Facebook and other social media platforms. Historically such lotteries were low-level events, and intelligence identified many were being run from home by a small group of people and for low value prizes. However recent intelligence suggests larger, more organised operations may be in effect, generating significant profit.

The Gambling Commission deems social media lotteries, including those run by influencers, to be unlicensed gambling and therefore unlawful.

The following guidance has been provided by Woods Whur and Woods Valldata to assist Societies in ensuring they are aware of the risks ‘social media lotteries’ present as well as safeguarding the societies’ obligations concerning promoting the GC’s licencing objectives and not supporting unlicensed gambling.

Q: What makes a draw promoted by members of the public on social media platforms and giving sites such as Just Giving, Virgin Money Giving etc. an illegal lottery?

A: The requirements that meet the definition of a lottery are set out within Section 14 of the Gambling Act 2005 (the Act) and, specifically, a simple lottery is one where:

  • There is a requirement to pay
  • One or more prizes are awarded
  • Those prizes are awarded by chance.

Therefore, if someone is required to ‘donate’ to be eligible to be entered into the draw this would meet the requirement to pay element of this definition. The other points regarding the prizes and those prizes are awarded by chance would mean that the promoter would be promoting an illegal lottery.

There are different requirements for a lottery to be defined as a ‘complex lottery’.

Q: What if the person promoting the draw on social media platforms and giving sites is part of a club or organisation, would it still be an illegal lottery?

A: Lotteries are regulated under the Act and must be either licensed by the GC or registered with a local authority, depending on the size of the lottery. It is illegal for a lottery to be run without a licence or registration.

Q: Can a member of the public register themselves as a small society lottery with a local authority?

A: An individual, group or organisation would need to set themselves up as a non-commercial society to allow them to promote a lottery. It is not a requirement for this to a be a registered charity, but the promoter must be promoting as a non-commercial society and be able to show evidence of this when applying to be registered with the local authority.

Q: What should a Society do if they become aware a member of the public is running an illegal lottery with proceeds going to the Society?

A: If the individual changes the route of entry to allow both paid (donation) and free entry into the draw this would then be permitted and classed as a ‘free draw’ and therefore does not need to be licensed or registered. The definition within the Act requires payment for each entry. Where there is the option for entrants to be entered via a ‘free route’ then this would not be classed as a lottery in accordance with the Act.

Q: Would a Society need to refund any monies already donated whilst it was an illegal lottery?

A: There is no direct Licence Condition in breach as the Society has not promoted the lottery however a Society should be mindful of the overarching licensing objectives to which it must operate, i.e. gambling is to be conducted in a ‘fair and open way’. Where societies and charities become aware of illegal lotteries all efforts should be made to return the monies and confirm the position regarding acceptance of illegal lottery proceeds.

Q: Are there other types of lottery that do not require any licence or registration with the Gambling Commission or local authority?

A: There are a number of lotteries known as ‘exempt lotteries’ set out in Schedule 11 of the Act and they are as follows:

  • Incidental lottery: These can be held at both non-commercial and commercial events to raise money for charities and other good causes, but they cannot be operated for private or commercial gain. Lottery results can be announced during or after the event, but tickets can only be sold at the event and while it is taking place.
  • Private society lottery: These must raise money for the purposes for which the society is conducted or to raise funds to support a charity or good cause . The advertisement of the lottery can only be done on the society premises and only members or guests on the society premises are permitted to purchase a ticket.
  • Work lottery: These can be held at both non-commercial and commercial premises to raise money for charities and other good causes, but they cannot be operated for private or commercial gain. The advertisement of the lottery can only be done on that single premises and only employees at that single premises are permitted to purchase tickets.
  • Residents lottery: These must raise money to support a charity or good cause. The advertisement of the lottery can only be done on the premises and only residents are permitted to purchase a ticket.
  • Customer lottery: No profit can be made and the price payable must be the same, tickets must not be sold to children under 16 years of age. The advertisement of the lottery can only be done on the premises and only customers are permitted to purchase a ticket. A customer lottery cannot be conducted on a vessel.

In all the above lottery types there are also restrictions on deductions for expenses and prizes; requirements surrounding tickets and rollovers are not permitted.   These lottery types do not require a licence or authorisation if they meet the definition of the exempt lottery type.

For more information on running prize competitions and free draws please refer to the Gambling Commission guide:

For more information on ‘exempt lotteries’ please refer to the Gambling Commission guide:

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DCMS calls for a Review of the Gambling Act 2005

The ‘Call for Evidence’ publication contains an introduction and 6 key areas which the government wishes to review. These areas are not particularly surprising given the current climate and recent changes made to the industry.

The areas are as follows ; Online protections – players and products, Advertising, sponsorship and branding, Gambling Commission’s powers and resources, Consumer Redress, Age limits and verification and Land based gambling.

The introduction runs through some figures for the Industry as a whole, it acknowledges that the National Lottery plays a big part and that the industry contributes to the economy (as well as 100,000 jobs). It also refers to the level of problem gamblers being approximately 0.5% of the adult population and how this has remained broadly steady around or below 1% for the past 20 years.

It is recognised that this review is required due to a shift in customer behaviour. In 2014 the act was amended to bring offshore operators into its scope and there is much evidence demonstrating how much online gambling in Great Britain has grown. However it also recognises that “This steady industry growth and shift to online have seen neither a marked increase in overall gambling participation, which has remained broadly stable between 45 and 48% of adults for the past five years, nor an increase in population problem gambling rates”

There is a general run down of what they have done so far to combat emerging problems, for example increasing the national lottery age to 18, cutting maximum stakes, increasing donations from operators, advertising bans).

The main aims set out are to create a safe environment with up to date regulations and a powerful regulator. The main objectives being to:

  • Examine whether changes are needed to the system of gambling regulation in Great Britain to reflect changes to the gambling landscape since 2005, particularly due to technological advances
  • Ensure there is an appropriate balance between consumer freedoms and choice on the one hand, and prevention of harm to vulnerable groups and wider communities on the other
  • Make sure customers are suitably protected whenever and wherever they are gambling, and that there is an equitable approach to the regulation of the online and the land based industries

After the initial 16 week call for evidence, the government will assess the evidence presented, alongside other data, with the aim of setting out conclusions and any proposals for reform in a white paper next year.

The call for evidence:

  1. Online protections – players and products
  • They are exploring a more interventionist method of monitoring customer player, including sharing data with other operators to spot issues. Discussion surrounding how this is easier online and should be utilised
  • More discussion surrounding the types of online gambling, “online gambling on slots, casinos or bingo games is associated with a higher rate (9.2%) than online betting with a bookmaker (2.5%)”
  • White labels are also coming into the firing line- “concerns have been raised that the companies who provide the brands may be seeking to use white label arrangements as they would be unable to meet the GB regulatory standards required to obtain a licence themselves, and that this therefore poses risks to consumers”
  • The attention is also back on loot boxes and whether they should be classed as gambling.
  • The questions:

Q1: What evidence is there on the effectiveness of the existing online protections in preventing gambling harm?

Q2: What evidence is there for or against the imposition of greater controls on online product design? This includes (but is not limited to) stake, speed, and prize limits or pre-release testing.

Q3: What evidence is there for or against the imposition of greater controls on online gambling accounts including but not limited to deposit, loss, and spend limits?

Q4: What is the evidence on whether any such limits should be on a universal basis or targeted at individuals based on affordability or other considerations?

Q5: Is there evidence on how the consumer data collected by operators could be better deployed and used to support the government’s objectives?

Q6: How are online gambling losses split across the player cohort? For instance what percentage of GGY do the top and bottom 10% of spenders account for, and how does this vary by product?

Q7: What evidence is there from behavioural science or other fields that the protections which operators must already offer, such as player-set spend limits, could be made more effective in preventing harm?

Q8: Is there evidence that so called ‘white label’ arrangements pose a particular risk to consumers in Great Britain?

Q9: What evidence, if any, is there to suggest that new and emerging technologies, delivery and payment methods such as blockchain and crypto currencies could pose a particular risk to gambling consumers?

Q10: Is there any additional evidence in this area the government should consider?

  1. Advertising, sponsorship and branding
  • The ASA becoming more concerned with online advertising, including advertising on social media
  • CAP is consulting on the content restrictions in the codes to ensure they reflect the latest evidence and provide appropriate protections for under 18s and vulnerable adults
  • The sponsorship of sports teams, particularly football and horse racing, is coming under scrutiny
  • The Questions:

Q11: What are the benefits or harms caused by allowing licensed gambling operators to advertise?

Q12: What, if any, is the evidence on the effectiveness of mandatory safer gambling messages in adverts in preventing harm?

Q13: What evidence is there on the harms or benefits of licensed operators being able to make promotional offers, such as free spins, bonuses and hospitality, either within or separately to VIP schemes?

Q14: What is the positive or negative impact of gambling sponsorship arrangements across sports, esports and other areas?

Q15: Is there any additional evidence in this area the government should consider, including in relation to particularly vulnerable groups?

  1. The Gambling Commission’s powers and resources
  • Intentions to ensure the GC can respond effectively to new and evolving problems in the industry- including by ensuring it is adequately resourced
  • The Questions

Q16: What, if any, evidence is there to suggest that there is currently a significant black market for gambling in Great Britain, or that there is a risk of one emerging?

Q17: What evidence, if any, is there on the ease with which consumers can access black market gambling websites in Great Britain?

Q18: How easy is it for consumers to tell that they are using an unlicensed illegal operator?

Q19: Is there evidence on whether the Gambling Commission has sufficient investigation, enforcement and sanctioning powers to effect change in operator behaviour and raise standards?

Q20: If existing powers are considered to be sufficient, is there scope for them to be used differently or more effectively?

Q21: What evidence is there on the potential benefits of changing the fee system to give the Gambling Commission more flexibility to adjust its fees, or potentially create financial incentives to compliance for operators?

Q22: What are the barriers to high quality research to inform regulation or policy making, and how can these be overcome? What evidence is there that a different model to the current system might improve outcomes?

Q23: Is there evidence from other jurisdictions or regulators on the most effective system for recouping the regulatory and societal costs of gambling from operators, for instance through taxes, licence fees or statutory levies?

Q24: Is there any additional evidence in this area the government should consider?

  1. Consumer redress
  • Currently operators are punished by the GC, concerns are that individual customers do not get compensation (other than ADR for contractual failings)
  • Concerns this does not include SR problems and that customers would have to go through the courts for this
  • The questions

Q25: Is there evidence of a need to change redress arrangements in the gambling sector?

Q26: If so, are there redress arrangements in other sectors or internationally which could provide a suitable model for the gambling sector?

Q27: Individual redress is often equated with financial compensation for gambling losses. However, there may be risks associated with providing financial lump sums to problem and recovering gamblers, or risks of creating a sense that gambling can be ‘risk free’. Are there other such considerations the government should weigh in considering possible changes to redress arrangements?

Q28: Is there any additional evidence in this area the government should consider?

  1. Age limits and verification
  • Research shows that while the number of underage gamblers is down, the number of underage problem gamblers has remained stable
  • Intentions to review the minimum age for society lotteries as well as under 18s using gaming machines (such as slot machines)
  • More consideration is also to be given to the protection of those aged 18-24
  • The questions:

Q29: What evidence is there on the effectiveness of current measures to prevent illegal underage gambling in land based venues and online?

Q30: Is there evidence of best practice, for instance from other jurisdictions, in how to prevent illegal underage gambling?

Q31: What, if any, evidence is there on the number of 16 and 17 year olds participating in society lotteries?

Q32: What, if any, evidence is there to show an association between legal youth engagement in society lotteries and problem gambling (as children or adults)?

Q33: Is there comparative evidence to support society lotteries and the National Lottery having different minimum ages to play?

Q34: What are the advantages and disadvantages of category D slot machine style gaming machines being legally accessible to children?

Q35: Is there evidence on how the characteristics of category D slot machine style gaming machines (for instance whether they pay out in cash or tickets) factor into their association with harm in childhood or later life?

Q36: What, if any, is the evidence that extra protections are needed for the youngest adults (for instance those aged between 18 and 25)?

Q37: What evidence is there on the type of protections which might be most effective for this age group?

Q38: Is there any additional evidence in this area the government should consider?

  1. Land based gambling
  • Recognition that the land based operators have been hit badly by Covid-19
  • Concerns surrounding the relevance of the old legislation for land based, particularly in relation to the cashless economy and casinos
  • A review of both types of casino will be undertaken now there are several in operation
  • Questions as to whether local authorities have the power they need to manage the premises
  • The question:

Q39: What, if any, changes in the rules on land based gambling would support the government’s objectives as set out in the document? Please provide evidence to support this position, for instance how changes have worked in other countries.

Q40: What evidence is there on potential benefits or harms of permitting cashless payment for land based gambling?

Q41: Is there evidence that changes to machine allocations and/ or machine to table ratios in casinos to allow them to have more machines would support the government’s objectives?

Q42: What is the evidence that the new types of casino created by the 2005 Act meet (or could meet) their objectives for the sector; supporting economic regeneration, tourism and growth while reducing risks of harm?

Q43: Is there evidence on whether licensing and local authorities have enough powers to fulfil their responsibilities in respect of premises licenses?

Q44: Is there evidence that we should moderately increase the threshold at which local authorities need to individually authorise the number of category D and C gaming machines in alcohol licensed premises?

Q45: Is there any additional evidence in this area the government should consider?

If you have any queries on the above please contact Andy Woods (  or Amanda Usher (

How to respond to the Call for Evidence:

Email with a document (word or pdf). This Call for Evidence will close at midnight on Wednesday 31st March 2021.

Everyone is welcome to respond, including international operators.

Your response must include Whether you are responding on behalf of an organisation or in a personal capacity; What questions/ topics you are responding to; Whether you want your response to remain confidential for commercial or other reasons, and whether you are willing to be contacted (if so please provide contact details).

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Lottery Sector Changes – Advertising and Gambling Commission Changes

Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) Changes

Operators should be up to speed with the latest version of the LCCP and aware that this currently is changing twice annually. The most recent changes to the LCCP that affect lottery operators are as follows:

  • Licence condition 15.1.1
  • Licence condition 15.2.1
  • Licence condition 15.2.2
  • Licence Condition 15.3.1
  • Social Responsibility Code Provision 6.1.1
  • Personal Licence conditions

It is important that operators read these conditions and understand how they may affect their day to day business and whether any policies need to be amended to reflect these changes and ensure compliance with the same.

The changes in the LCCP concern reporting obligations and display of licensed status for remote operators. It is always strongly advised that an up to date copy of the LCCP is readily available to all of those concerned with the gambling industry and, where hard copies are not presented, employees know where to find the most recent version (online).

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP)

CAP and BCAP have recently amended its guidance regarding the feature of children and young people in lottery advertisements. The wording of the original rules was:

17.15 Marketing communications for a lottery product may include children or young persons. No one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old may be featured gambling or playing a significant role.

17.16 Marketing communications that exclusively feature the good causes that benefit from a lottery and include no explicit encouragement to buy a lottery product may include children or young persons in a significant role.

The amended wording of the rules is as follows:

17.15 [Marketing communications] for lotteries must not feature anyone who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old (under 25s) participating in gambling.

17.16 [marketing communications] for lotteries which include any reference to scratch cards or online instant win lottery products must not feature under 25s in a significant role. Other [marketing communications] for lotteries must not feature under 25s in a significant role unless either:

17.16.1 The under 25s are featured solely to depict the good causes supported by the lottery and there is no explicit encouragement to purchase a lottery product; or

17.16.2 The lottery primarily benefits under 25s (including in a family setting) and the under 25s featured are representative of the primary beneficiaries of the lottery.

 In addition to the changes of the wording, CAP have published guidance on the depiction of under 25s in lottery advertising and, in particular, what they deem significant role to mean. They have split the definition of significant role into “incidental” and “significant”.


  • Under 25s seen as a minority part of a larger mixed age group, where the focus is on the group as a whole, e.g. a family a dinner.
  • Under 25s in the background of a shop that focuses on older subjects.


  • Speaking parts (or written equivalents in non-broadcast advertising).
  • The sole or primary focus of a shot, or being singled out in some way.
  • Holding promotional materials, such as a sign for the cause or lottery.

The distinction between scratch cards and instant win lotteries have always been of higher risk profile because of the potential harm to players.

It is important that you are aware of these new rules and ensure that your advertisements are compliant with the new rules.

Guidance from CAP can be found of the following link:

If you have any questions in relation to this guidance, then please contact Sarah Frow or Andrew Woods on 0113 234 3055 or