PREMISES LICENCES REGULATIONS CONSULTATION Scottish Executive A Response by Business In Sport and Leisure (BISL)

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1 Business In Sport and Leisure Limited 17a Chartfield Avenue Putney London SW15 6DX Tel: Fax: Introduction PREMISES LICENCES REGULATIONS CONSULTATION Scottish Executive A Response by Business In Sport and Leisure (BISL) Business In Sport and Leisure (BISL) is an umbrella organisation that represents over 100 private sector companies in the sport and leisure industry. Its members include most of the major operators of commercial sport and leisure in the UK and many consultants who specialise in this field. Members of BISL represent a wide range of interests in the gambling sector and include operators of casinos, bingo, betting, pools, greyhound and horse racing, snooker and ten pin bowling centres, pubs and the suppliers of gaming machines. In fact as far as we are aware BISL is the only umbrella body representing all major sectors of the Gambling Industry. BISL welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation from the Scottish Executive on Premises Licences Regulations and would make the following comments, Introduction It is absolutely essential for industry that the Premises Licence Regulations work. As has been seen from the implementation of the Licensing Act in England, the real burdens on business flow from regulations which are over burdensome and costly. We welcomed the opportunity to test trial the new system. BISL has already provided industry representatives to test the application forms for Premises Licences and hope that their comments will be taken into account when the forms are revised. Mandatory and Default Conditions Although the Mandatory and Default Conditions have not yet been finalised, we understand from DCMS that there are not expected to be many changes, except in the areas of tracks and the exclusion of children; and access between 1

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3 premises. It is vital however, that there is a clear understanding of what will constitutes a fast track application, as it makes a huge difference in terms of the complexity of the application process and indeed in terms of fees. We anticipate that this could particularly affect small and medium sizes businesses which run FECs and decide that to remain viable they need to apply to become an AGC. We understand that al these premises be considered to have Grandfather Rights. Detailed Comments Publishing the notice for interested parties: BISL is against the requirement that notices have to be published in a local newspaper. We understand that community groups are pressing for this requirement to remain, but this issue has already been examined in detail by the Better Regulation Commission and found to be a real cost for business. To quote from the recommendations of their report, published in April 2006 "Remove the mandatory provision for newspaper advertisements. Businesses should be encouraged to use a range of suitable methods (such as leaflet drops) for notifying local residents of applications for licence variations. Regulations should specify the desired outcome (Le. that local residents should be made aware) rather than the method by which this is to be achieved. This will be cheaper and potentially more effective in responding to local circumstances". E.arlier in the report the Commission made it clear that the 'cost of newspaper adverts significantly increased application costs for small businesses'. Since there is also a requirement that notices should be displayed on the premises to which the application relates for no less than 28 days, this would seem to be sufficient. Feedback from the industry suggests that the cost of advertising can be between 157 and 221 in rural areas, but in Birmingham and Yorkshire the cost is 360 and between 460 and 1,000 for the London Standard. Whilst we appreciate that betting shops and indeed casinos already advertise in newspaper, it would seem that the Racing Post is most used by betting shops which is unlikely to be local. Casino operators expect to pay 1,000 for advertising each time. Plans BISL welcomes the proposal that plans will only be required to be sent to the local authority and not all other statutory consultees. We would however advice that the production of plan 'to scale' will be costly for operators and particularly small businesses. Most of these businesses will not have been required to 2

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5 produce plans for any other reason. The new risk assessment process for fire safety does not require the production of plans. Notices BISL welcomes the change to require only the notice to served on other consultees and that a full application pack will only be sent to the local authority. In the case of a 'Fast Track' application no notices will be required at all. BISL would welcome the proposal that all notices are sent to a central point within the local authority who then pass on the relevant notice to the statutory consultees, many of which will be part of the authority themselves. A similar recommendation was made by the Better Regulation Commission in relation to liquor licensing. In Conclusion There is considerable scope for confusion between licensing authorities and individual gambling operators about 'Grandfathered Premises' and conditions. This will need a strong lead from the Scottish Executive as individual issues arise. Industry is concerned that that their clear understanding that Grandfather Rights apply, is not overturned in later discussions by their local authority..i Brigid Simmonds OBe 18 th January 2007 Chief Executive 3

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