UK: Licensing News Scotland - July 2017

Last Updated: 3 August 2017
Article by Stephen McGowan
Most Read Contributor in UK, July 2017

Dundee Licensing Board reignite overprovision debate

Following the successful challenge by Aldi Stores Ltd on appeal to the Sheriff, effectively overturning Dundee Licensing Board's 2014 Overprovision Policy, the Board have signaled their desire to look again at the issue. They have agreed to launch a consultation which will run from July to September 2017 seeking views on the proposition that Dundee is overprovided for particular licensed premises. Pubs and off-sales are the focus of overprovision with the Consultation seemingly accepting that restaurants, cafes and hotels would not be caught. The August Bulletin will provide more details once the consultation paper has been released.

Pubs hit with higher bills for showing football

The most recent English Premier League (EPL) TV deal is worth a whopping £8.3 billion - of which £5.14 billion is Sky and BT Sports. It appears that it is local pubs who are set to pay!
Subscription fees for pubs are calculated using their rateable value, so in theory big pubs in prime locations pay more. Since the EPL deal was announced, Sky and BT Sports increased domestic rates a fraction but have substantially upped their prices by 10% and 8.9% respectively. It is estimated that on average pubs are paying £20,000 per annum for subscriptions to Sky and BT Sports.

Gambling News

Gambling Commission announce response to consultation on Statement of Principles and Policy Statement

In January 2017, the Gambling Commission (GC) consulted all interested parties on its proposed changes to their enforcement strategy. Essentially, the key proposal was to do away with the notional bias toward settlement in favour of putting all regulatory tools at their disposal on an equal footing. Following the consultation, the GC has announced its findings.

The key points in terms of the GC enforcement strategy are:

  • Emphasis on putting the consumer first
  • Putting settlements and licence reviews on an equal footing
  • Credit will be given for timely disclosure on a case-by-case basis, based on factors such as nature of the disclosure and previous record
  • Financial penalties will be determined on the facts of each individual case- there will be no guidelines given for likely fine levels, although outcomes of cases will be published for guidance to other operators.

There will be no adoption of a CPS style model of potential fines or discounts, as this would affect the ability of the GC to be 'agile and flexible' in its decision making.

The FA and SFA spilt on gambling sponsorships for the beautiful game

The English Football Association have terminated their relationship with Ladbrokes and confirmed that they will not be replacing them with any other betting partner. The timing suggests that the move it is on the back of a number of reported breaches by players of the FA's betting rules. The sponsorship deal had three years still to run. The Scottish Football Association (SFA) appears set to continue their relationship with their betting partners who sponsor the SPFL, the Scottish Cup and the League Cup.

Gambling Commission regulatory returns and key event notifications soon to be done exclusively via their online system

As part of the Commission's commitment to "digital first" the following processes will move to be online only:

  • All regulatory returns must be submitted via eServices - Operator as of 1 October 2017; and
  • All key event notifications must be submitted via eServices – Operator as of 1 September 2017. The email address will no longer be available.

It is important that operators sign up for eServices access ahead of these dates. You can contact the Commission to register on 0121 230 6666.

Out and about

June saw a frenetic return to hearings after the hiatus occasioned by the local and the general elections.
Our intrepid quartet of licensing lawyer, Stephen, Caroline, Niall and Michael represented clients at the following boards – Angus; Inverclyde; Highland; South Ayrshire; Glasgow; Argyll and Bute; Clackmannanshire; East Lothian; Scottish Borders, Aberdeen; Renfrewshire; Dumfries; Edinburgh; Dundee, East Dunbartonshire and East Ayrshire . In addition we appeared at Glasgow Licensing Committee.
In addition to the above, Stephen and Niall supported the SGF at their Conference at RBS Gogarburn and Niall attended the BII Licensee of the Year Awards in London.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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