This month in summary

Licensing News

Gambling News

Licensing News

Licensing Board Policy News

Local Licensing Board Policy consultations are coming thick and fast. Current consultations include the undernoted which have closing dates either side of the Festive break –

  • City of Edinburgh Licensing Board (22 December 2017)
  • East Ayrshire Licensing Board (22 December 2017)
  • Dundee City Licensing Board (29 December 2017)
  • West Dunbartonshire Licensing Board (5 January 2018)
  • North Aberdeenshire Licensing Board (12th January 2018)

All consultations listed above can be accessed via the respective Board's website.

AFS have published a report on Scottish Licensing which, whilst highlighting perceived improvements in the system from "a stakeholders" view point, calls for more action to reduce consumption and harm by controlling availability through the licensing system.

Amongst other things AFS is critical of

  • A lack of transparency
  • Complexity
  • Legal challenges
  • Unclear guidance
  • Ineffective Licensing Forums

The full report can be viewed here http://www.alcohol-focus-scotland.org.uk/media/287043/Taking-Stock-Report.pdf

Following the Scottish Government's victory before the Supreme Court, plans to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol are proceeding at a pace. The legislation will come into effect on 1 May 2018. However, in advance of the introduction, the Scottish Government are consulting to ingather views on its preferred price of 50 pence per unit of alcohol.

The deadline to submit a response is 26 January 2018 and you can respond via this link https://consult.gov.scot/alcohol-policy/minimum-unit-pricing

Gambling News

The Gambling Commission has announced that Sarah Harrison, its Chief Executive, will be leaving the Commission at the end of February 2018. She will be moving to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Chairman of the Commission Bill Moyes stated:

“The Gambling Commission has set an ambitious agenda and clear priorities for treating customers fairly and making play safer and our new three-year strategy embeds this approach for the future. Sarah’s impact has been significant in shaping this direction of travel. I and my Board colleagues wish Sarah every success for the future and look forward to continuing to work with her to deliver this agenda over the next few months.”

The Gambling Commission will make an announcement when her replacement is appointed.

New Gambling Commission research raises concerns that children are able to experience gambling without having the consequences of doing so properly explained.

In particular, new technology provides children with opportunities to access free-to-play casino games via social media or within some computer games, where the same level of protections or responsible gambling messages as found in regulated gambling products are absent.

Tim Miller, Gambling Commission Executive Director said “We require gambling operators to have strong protections in place to prevent children from accessing their products and are actively reviewing how some, like age verification, can continue to be strengthened.

“However, it is clear that many children’s experiences of gambling-style activities are coming from the playground, the games console or social media rather than the bookmaker, the casino or the gambling website. That’s why it is essential that we work across industries and with parents so that together we can protect children and encourage those that choose to gamble in adulthood to do so safely.”

Given the emphasis that the Gambling Commission puts on preventing children and vulnerable adults from accessing gambling, it is likely that this is something that will be focussed on in the future.