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: https://www.westminster.gov.uk/licensing/licensing-policy-and-strategy/statement-principles-gambling-westminster