More of your questions answered in this months Hill Brown Licensing Q & A.
Q: We have machines in our bar and we have notified the council we are using them. Do we need to do anything else?
A: This all depends on what type of machines you have and how many. The Gambling Act 2005 permits you to have up to two Category C or Category D AWP machines in a licensed premise provided you formally notify the licensing authority and pay a one-off fee of £50. This is referred to as your Automatic Entitlement. l suggest that any Automatic Entitlement notification is made in writing and a receipt kept. As soon as the notification is made it has immediate effect so you wouldn’t need to do anything else.
If you have, or would like, to have more than two machines you will need to apply to the local authority for a Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permit. There is usually a form which has to be completed, available on the council website. A plan showing the machines is required and the initial fee due is £150. A further payment of £50, being the first annual fee, is due on grant. Thereafter, you will need to pay £50 each year on the anniversary of the date the permit was granted. You will be issued with a permit which you should keep in the bar and if you add any machines you must apply to vary your permit. Where a gaming machine permit authorises a specified number of gaming machines, this will replace, rather than be in addition to, any automatic entitlement to two machines.
Don’t forget about the link between liquor licensing and gambling. If you don’t have “gaming” specified in your operating plan of your premises licence you will have to hold off placing any machines until a major variation to add this has been approved by the licensing board.
Q: I have recently starting managing a bar in an airport. The owners have explained that it doesn’t need a premises licence because it is “airside” but is there anything else licensing wise we need to know?
A: The reason a premises licence isn’t required is because the bar, being past airport security, is considered an exempt premises. It is still, however, categorised as a relevant premises – meaning despite not requiring a licence some controls within the licensing act do still apply. For example, those relating to sales of alcohol to, or by, a child or young person and sales of alcohol to drunk persons. The requirement to display a notice stating that it is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to buy or attempt to buy alcohol on the premises also applies.
As there is no licence the usual mandatory conditions don’t apply so there is no requirement for staff training, minimum pricing or an age-verification policy. That said, a sensible operator will put measures in place to ensure staff are knowledgeable, trained and aware of their responsibilities to allow a defence to be established should they be prosecuted for an offence under the Act.
One final thing to consider is that although the lack of an alcohol licence means you can sell alcohol at all times of the day and night, your trading hours might make you subject to the requirement to have a late hours catering licence. There is no exemption for airside premises when it comes to late hours catering. If you are therefore open after 11pm or before 5am and sell any type of food, from chewing gum to steak pie, a licence will be required.
If you are worried you may be falling short on this please contact our specialist team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0141 333 0636, or speak to your licensing authority.