This month in summary

Licensing News

Aberdeen host night time economy event

Aberdeen Inspired (the Business Improvement District) launched the Inspired Nights Festival which runs from Friday May 18 to Sunday May 27. The event is punctuated on 22 May with a night time industry conference. The conference will explore changes apparent within night life culture from the perspective of industry leaders who make it.

The overarching festival invites festival-goers to explore the city’s bars, restaurants and nightclubs, browse night street food markets and attend pop-up events across the city.

This championing of the night time economy could be a blueprint for other cities to follow.

Licensing Board Policies - consultation update

Renfrewshire Licensing Board have launched a formal policy consultation which closes on 3 August 2018. Views are sought from all stakeholders and you can comment here.

West Lothian Licensing Board are consulting on its current policy. Views are sought on a wide range of issues. The consultation closes on 14 July 2018 and can be found here.

Finally, Midlothian's Policy Consultation seeks view on overprovision in particular. As an incentive to respond they are going to select one respondent to receive a £50 voucher.

Further calls for licensing reform – this time to address employee welfare

Hot on the heels of immigration law being implanted into the liquor (and certain civic) licensing regime, a group called Better Than Zero’s Safe Home campaign are lobbying the Scottish Government to change licensing laws to make it the licensee's responsibility to provide transport home for staff.

Whilst the aim may be laudable critics are concerned with yet more onerous licensing conditions and duplication with the legislative structures in the sphere of employment law.

At present the government have not publicly indicated whether they intend to support the lobbyists calls but workers' rights is high on the political agenda in Scotland.

Top Licensing Tip: Pop-up Summer Events may need more than just an alcohol licence

It is the season for community fetes and galas, for fundraising BBQs and outdoor music festivals. In years gone by the majority of such events required a simple Ocassional Licence provided it specified the performances and entertainment occurring within the licensed site. Post November 2016 the exemption from the requirement to have a separate Public Entertainment Licence (PEL) when you held an Occasional Licence no longer applies. PELs and Temporary PELs are needed to comply it the Civic licensing regime and cover, all manner of things from live music to art exhibitions and participatory sport. The regime is largely governed at a local level so if you have an event upcoming, which is more than just a pop-up bar i.e. it has some form of entertainment do check the local PEL resolution or speak to a licensing solicitor.

Gambling News

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals' maximum stake to be cut

The maximum stake on FOBTs will be cut from £100 to £2, the government has announced. Whilst there is no date for implementation the comments from Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for DCMS would suggest it will be sooner rather than later.

Mr Hancock said: “These machines are a social blight and prey on some of the most vulnerable in society, and we are determined to put a stop to it and build a fairer society for all.”

The accountancy firm KPMG have widely been reported as estimating that the £2 limit would cut revenue for the Treasury by £1.1 billion over three years. Whilst the Association of British Bookmakers predict that approximately 4,000 betting shop premises may close resulting in 21,000 redundancies.

Gambling Commission publishes business plan

The Gambling Commission has set out its strategic priorities in their new business plan, published at the end of April. These are:

  • protect the interests of consumers
  • prevent harm to consumers and the public
  • raise standards in the gambling market
  • optimise returns to good causes from lotteries
  • improve how the GC regulate

The full report can be found here.