The Gambling Act 2005 (external link), which came into effect from 31 January 2007, repealed most of the existing laws relating to gambling in Great Britain and replaced them with an improved, more comprehensive structure of gambling regulation. It transferred the responsibility for the licensing of gaming premises from the Magistrates to Licensing Authorities and introduced for the first time, a unified regulator for gambling, the Gambling Commission (external link). This body replaces the Gaming Board for Great Britain.
Under the Act the Council is responsible for issuing premises licences for premises such as casinos, bingo halls, betting offices, adult gaming centres and licensed family entertainment centres as well as permits for gaming machines in pubs, clubs and other alcohol licensed premises.
The Act contains three licensing objectives, which underpin the functions that the Gambling Commission and the Council, acting as Licensing Authority, perform. These objectives are central to the regulatory regime and all the decisions made under it. The objectives are:
- Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime;
- Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way; and
- Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling
Three types of licence are required by the new Act:
- An operator licence concerned with the management and conduct of gambling.
- A personal licence for persons with key operational functions connected with the gambling business.
- A premises licence for the property where the gambling takes place.
Operator's licences and personal licences are issued and regulated by the Gambling Commission, whereas responsibility for the issue and regulation of premises licences lies with the Council.
Some functions of Local Authorities and licensing Magistrates were abolished and reintroduced as functions of Licensing Authorities under the Act, these are:
- Betting and Gaming Act 1963
- Gaming Act 1968
- Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976