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CLUB LAW & MANAGEMENT

Gambling Act 2005

The Gambling Act 2005 will finally come into full force on 1st September 2007. The Gambling Act 2005 lists the following objectives which the Gambling Commission and Local Authorities will have an overriding obligation to pursue:-

a) Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime,

b) Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and

c) Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

Arrangements have been made to transfer existing Permits and Registrations under the 1968 Gaming Act to the new legislative framework:

Part ll Registrations will be replaced by a Club Gaming Permit which will entitle clubs to offer up to three gaming machines with a maximum stake of £1 and a maximum prize of £250; (it will also entitle clubs to offer facilities for equal chance gaming - subject to certain limits - and such games as are prescribed by the Secretary of State.)

Part lll Registrations will be replaced by a Club Gaming Machine Permit which will entitle clubs to offer up to three gaming machines with a maximum stake of £1 and a maximum prize of £250.

(Club Gaming Machine Permits will also entitle Clubs to offer facilities for equal chance gaming. However, there will be specified limits on stakes and prizes for the playing of poker and other gaming and also maximum participation fees for Bridge, Whist and other gaming.

Since at the present time these stake and prize limits and maximum participation fees are only referred to in a Consultation Paper they may change and therefore, the Magazine will contain a further update when the final figures are known.)

Almost without exception, our Clubs operate under Part III Registrations, and will therefore, automatically hold Club Gaming Machine Permits from 1st September 2007 (although any clubs with Part III expiry dates prior to 31st August 2007 will need to re—apply in the normal way as detailed below)

These new permits will run for 10 years.

It should be noted that under the new Act a club will be able to offer a maximum of three machines but that these can include category C and category D machines such as those currently sited in pubs.

Under the old Act these were subject to separate regulations and a club was not allowed to mix the different types;-

Any current registrations under Part Il or Part lll which expire on 1st September 2007 or beyond will be automatically converted into a new style permit. Clubs will not be required to apply; they will simply be treated as if they hold the relevant permits.

These new style permits will have the same expiry date as existing permits.

For example, a Part lll with an expiry date in November 2008 will automatically be converted to a Club Gaming Machine Permit with a November 2008 expiry date.

However, clubs will need to apply at least two months before expiry of these converted part II and part III permits for either a Club Gaming Permit or a Club Gaming Machine Permit.

Any club that does make their application at least two months before the expiry date will automatically qualify for renewal.

The A.C.C. suggests making a diary entry now so that you are reminded to renew the new style permit at the right time.

These new style permits will run for 10 years Any clubs with Part II or Part III registrations expiring on or before 31st August 2007 must continue to renew them with the Magistrates’ Courts in the normal way.

The Application forms for the new style permits have not yet been finalised. They are expected to be published by August 2007 at the latest.

lt is important to note that with effect from 1st September 2007 Clubs will also be required to abide by a Gambling Commission Code of Practice relating to the location and operation of their Gaming Machines. This is expected to include rules to ensure that machines are correctly supervised to prevent their play by children and for clubs to consider social responsibility issues.

Unfortunately, at the time of printing this edition the Code of Practice has also not yet been issued although it was due for publication in May 2007!

The Gambling Act will also have an effect on the playing of Bingo. However, this will only apply to Clubs which play Bingo with stakes or prizes which exceed £2,000 in any seven-day period. Whilst it is not likely that many of our Clubs will fall into this category, we shall give details of these particular new regulations in a future edition of the Magazine.

The latest information can be obtained from the DCMS and the Gambling Commission websites but the A.C.C. will keep our Clubs informed of important deadlines as, and when, they arise.