Agenda item

Merkur Cashino, 182-184 Road, London W2 2DS


Site Name & Address


Licensing Reference No.

Bryanston & Dorset Square

Merkur Cashino, 182-184 Edgeware Road, London W2 2DS

New Premises Licence


*Cumulative Impact Area



Present:                   Philip Kolvin QC (Counsel for the Applicant); Dr Richard Bradley, Poppleston Allen Solicitors (representing the Applicant); Amanda Kiernan (Head of Compliance, Cashino Gaming Ltd); Andy Tipple (Head of Product, Cashino Gaming Ltd); Steve Ambrose (Operations Director, Cashino Gaming Ltd); and Stuart Jenkins (Leveche Associates Ltd)


Representations:    Representations had been received from the Licensing Authority.

Applicant:                Cashino Gaming Ltd

Ward:                       Bryanston and Dorset Square

CIA[1]:                         Edgeware Road

Summary of Application

The application was for a new Gambling Premises Licence under the Gambling Act 2005 for premises at 182-184 Edgeware Rd, London W2 2DS. The premises had been a William Hill Betting Shop prior to the surrender of its premises licence in August 2019. It was the Applicant’s intention to turn the premises into a Bingo venue where bingo could be played on Bingo tablets, and Bingo Plus and Bingo Express terminals. In addition, provision would be made for non-remote Bingo to be played.


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the Members of the Sub Committee and the Council Officers who would be supporting the Sub Committee before explaining the procedure that would be followed at the meeting.

The Chairman then invited the Presenting Officer, Ms Jessica Donovan, to present the report that was before the Sub Committee.


Ms Jessica Donovan, Licensing Officer

Ms Donovan, Licensing Officer, summarised the application as set out in the report before the Sub Committee, noting that it was an application for a new bingo premises licence for 182-184 Edgeware Rd, London W2 2DS. Ms Donovan stated that representations had been received from the Licensing Authority and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). However, following agreement on proposed conditions with the Applicant, the MPS had withdrawn their representations.

Additional information had been received from the Applicant and Ms Donovan stated that this information could be found in the Additional Information Packs 1 & 2. In addition, a skeleton argument prepared by Mr Kolvin had been circulated to Members and Officers.

In conclusion, Ms Donovan noted that the premises were within the Bryanston and Dorset Square Ward and were within the Edgeware Road Cumulative Impact Area (CIA).

Mr Philip Kolvin QC, Representing the Applicant

Mr Kolvin thanked the Members of the Sub Committee for acknowledging that they had received and read his skeleton argument. He stated he was going to refer the Sub Committee to the “Proposed Operational Conditions” set out on pages 40 & 41 in Additional Information Pack 2, which listed 25 bespoke conditions. In so doing, Mr Kolvin stated he was going to make the following eight points to the Sub Committee.

1.     Cashino Gaming Ltd

Mr Kolvin noted that Cashino Gaming Ltd was one of the most experienced and largest operators of gaming on the high Street in the UK. The company was registered with the Gambling Commission and, therefore, its suitability as an operator was not in question. The company systems for promoting the licensing objectives were internationally accredited, as was the quality of its national, area and local management; and its staff training systems had been audited by the Gambling Commission and accredited by GamCare.

2.     Premises

The Applicant had 180 premises across the country, 50 of them in London, and many in very challenging locations. The Applicant operated to an excellent standard, reflected in the fact that there had never been a license review of any of its premises. The company planned its operations according to the locality, trained its staff appropriately, liaised with the relevant authorities and responded to any potential issues identified at the outset of opening new premises or after having opened new premises. In addition, the company subjected itself to regular audits by its field-based operatives; engaged independent mystery shoppers; and carried out test purchases.

3.     Crime and Disorder

The Applicant’s premises were rarely on the Police radar as the premises rarely generated crime and disorder. The customer demographic was 50% female and the premises surroundings were comfortable with free tea, coffee and snacks, and staff walked around the premises, engaging with customers. The number of players at any one time tended to be very low with players coming in, often alone or in couples, playing the machines for a short while, having a drink, and then leaving. Customers did not loiter either inside or outside the premises.

Staff were trained to monitor the outside of the premises and CCTV was deployed both inside and outside the premises. Any incidents were logged and reviewed at senior level and reporting lines were established with local police teams.

These considerations and proposed conditions agreed with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) had resulted in PC Lewis deciding to withdraw the Police representation on the application.

[PC Lewis had submitted a representation on the basis that the Police would require further information before deciding whether to maintain or withdraw its representation].

4.     Sale of Alcohol

Licensed bingo premises were entitled to sell alcohol and to admit children. However, the Applicant chose not to do either of these things.

5.     Council Policy

There was no presumption against licensing in particular locations within the Council’s relevant policy e.g., there was no equivalent of a Cumulative Impact Area policy and the policy was, in keeping with similar policies across the UK, a merit based policy which asked applicants to demonstrate how they would promote the licensing objectives having regard to the sensitivity of the locality in which they propose to operate.

6.     Legal Obligations

Should the licence be granted, the Applicant would be subject to extensive legal obligations arising from the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP); from mandatory conditions imposed by regulation on a bingo premises licence; the conditions offered by the Applicant (if agreed); and any conditions the Sub Committee might wish to add.

[Mr Kolvin then summarised the conditions set out in the “Proposed Operational Conditions” on pages 40 & 41 of Additional Information Pack 2].

7.     Representations by the Licensing Authority

The Skeleton Argument provided a response to the questions raised by the Licensing Authority, which could be categorised, as follows –

(a)  Does the Applicant manage gambling responsibly?

It was hoped, from the evidence presented, that the Sub Committee was of the view that the Applicant did manage gambling responsibly.

(b)  Did the Applicant export Crime and Disorder issues?

The evidence and operational history indicated that the answer was “No”. In addition, the Applicant had allowed Mr Stuart Jenkins, an independent witness, to have free rein to enter any of its premises and, having visited nine premises, Mr Jenkins had nothing untoward to report in terms of management or environmental impact.

(c)  Does it manage to prevent the import of children?

From its national history, the answer was “Yes”. Children were not attracted to enter the Applicant’s premises and there were competent controls in place to make sure children did not enter the Applicant’s premises.

The Applicant was committed to running a safe and lawful operation. If that required more or different resources than those implied by the Conditions, those resources would be made available in accordance with the periodic risk assessments carried out by the Applicant.

8.     The Licensing Objectives

Addressing the Licensing Objectives –

i.        Ensuring gambling is kept free from crime and disorder;

ii.      Ensuring gambling is conducted in a fair and open way; and

iii.     Protection of children and vulnerable adults;

there was nothing in the history of the Applicant either nationally or locally or in London; or the content or style of its offer; or the layout of its premises; or its core demographic; or the training or supervision of its staff; or the kind of controls it applied or its systems of audit; or the views of the Police, which would suggest that to permit gambling here would harm the licensing objectives once the proposed Conditions were taken into account.

The Applicant prized its commitment to the Licensing Objectives and liaison with the authorities and, if there ever were issues, there were well resourced systems in place to handle any issues speedily and effectively.

In conclusion, Mr Kolvin respectfully asked that the Sub Committee approve the application.

Member’s Questions

In response to Member’s questions, Mr Kolvin provided the following information.

(a)     The Applicant did not operate any premises in Westminster, the nearest premises being in Tottenham Court Road and in Camden.

(b)     Mr Jenkins visited nine premises operated by the Applicant

(c)      The Bingo industry had developed the use of handheld tablet devices that could perform all the functions of a traditional game of bingo and allowed customers to continue to play as they moved around the premises. In addition, customers had the opportunity to play gaming machines.

Referring to a plan of the premises, Mr Kolvin identified the location of the seated gaming machines (70) and where the bingo machines (20) were located on a rack for use by customers. Mr Kolvin described how the bingo machines, which had Category C and D content, operated, and the games that were available. Regarding the gaming machines, 18 were Category B3[2]gaming machines, which constituted 20% of the total number of playable machines in the premises.

(d)     The tablets permitted a variety of Category C and D games to be played, but not Category B games. It was not possible to play bingo on the gaming machines, but customers could play Category B3, C and D games and only 18 allowed Category B3 (Adult) games to be played.

(e)     The Applicant had looked at the sensitivities of the location including the types of premises that were there and the residential population and had analysed the crime data. In response, the Applicant had offered a staffing condition that went beyond the staffing provision in many of its other premises viz.

Condition 7: There shall be no pre-planned single staffing at the premises from 12:00 hours until closing and no single staffing from 20:00 hours until closing”.

In addition, there was a magnetic door locking system (Maglock) and each Member of Staff had a fob allowing them to instantly contact StaffGuard (Conflict Management System), if necessary.

No SIA conditions had been attached to any of the Applicant’s premises licences. However, should anything untoward happen, the Applicant would employ SIA registered supervisors until such time as the issue had been resolved. Mr Kolvin stated that none of the Applicant’s premises had ever been subject to review of its licence, the reason being that the Applicant would not allow anything that might put it staff or customers in danger. A combination of risk assessments, discussions with the Police and proposed conditions had all formed part of the present application.

(f)       Regarding opening hours, the mandatory and default conditions were framed in such a way that the default hours for bingo were 09:00 hours to 00:00 hours and these hours could be varied. There were no default hours for gaming machines and if hours were not specified, the Applicant could allow customers to play gaming machines for 24 hours a day.

The Applicant had sought to extend the hours for bingo from 7 AM to 1 AM or 2 AM depending on whether it was Sunday to Thursday or Friday to Saturday. The test for restricting hours was “necessity” rather than appropriateness or proportionality. If the Sub Committee did feel there was a need to restrict the hours, the Applicant had offered, in the skeleton argument, overall opening hours of 7 AM to 2 AM.

(g)     Regarding staff training in relation to vulnerable people, it was noted that it was not possible to identify persons who might be problem gamblers or otherwise vulnerable by looking at them. Therefore, staff were provided with accredited training in observing customer behaviour and to look for indicators that might suggest vulnerability. [Mr Kolvin then described the types of behaviour that staff were trained to identify as potentially indicative of vulnerability].

If a Member of Staff identified a customer who may have a gambling problem, that Member of Staff would engage with the customer to ask if they wished to review their gambling. [Mr Kolvin then explained how this process of engagement and review operated in practice and the resources available to customers to manage their gambling, including self-exclusion].

Other measures in place to protect vulnerable persons included independent field audits that were carried out on the Applicant’s premises three times a year, and which included checks on what premises were doing to protect vulnerable people, and the knowledge and understanding of Members of Staff to determine if there was any requirement for training.

The Applicant was also engaged with two gambling charities: YGAM, an educational charity to safeguard young people against problematic gaming and gambling; and Betknowmore, a gambling support service addressing problematic issues caused by gambling. In addition, the Applicant donated to gambling charities.

(h)     Regarding local engagement and engagement with the Business Improvement District (BID), the Applicant was engaged with the Police and the Licensing Authority. If the licence was granted, the Applicant would routinely seek the guidance of the Licensing Authority in liaising with local organisations and, insofar as those organisations provided assistance and care, the Applicant would liaise directly with those organisations. In addition, as there was a six-week induction period before a premises opened, local organisations would be invited to participate in the training process and to impart local knowledge and information.

(i)       Regarding the Edgeware Road Cumulative Impact Area, the Applicant had carried out a detailed Local Area Risk Assessment which was at Page 70 of Additional Information Pack 1. The assessment had considered crime rates in both the immediate area and the wider area and the application had been discussed in detail with PC Bryan Lewis. [Mr Kolvin then detailed the discussions that had taken place with PC Lewis and the proposed conditions that had resulted from that discussion and from consultation with the Council’s advisers on Crime and Disorder].

(j)       The inside of the premises would not be visible from the street. CCTV cameras would monitor activity outside the premises which was next to a McDonald’s store where a lot of young people gathered as well as vulnerable young men of differing ethnicities. The front of the premises would display socially responsible messaging and signs would be clearly displayed stating that no one under 18 was permitted, under any circumstances, to enter the premises; that CCTV was in operation; that alcohol could not be brought into the premises; and that smoking was not permitted.

Mr Kolvin stated that the Applicant was aware of the juxtaposition with the McDonald’s premises next door. The premises would not be enticing to young people given its low-key interior; uniformed staff walking round the premises; and there being no opportunity to gather socially. However, should there be an issue of young people entering the premises, the Applicant would immediately address this concern.

(k)      The different character of Betting Shops, Adult Gaming Centres (AGCs) and Bingo Premises meant that people were more likely to smoke outside betting shops. The very low number of customers in bingo premises at any one time, and the amount of time they spent there, meant that there was very little reason to stand outside the premises to smoke. Also, people who tended to gather on the street did not do so outside bingo premises.

(l)       Regarding measures to prevent money-laundering, high specification technology in the gaming machines monitored the amount and frequency of transactions and alerted staff to suspect transactions or behaviour. To make the business profitable, it required a steady flow of customers over the course of a long period in any one day.

(m)   Members of Staff would deal humanely with any homeless people they encountered, but homeless people would not be permitted to enter or remain on the premises or use the machines. Furthermore, homeless people were generally aware of the premises where they would not be given entry.

Regarding those persons who were intentionally homeless and who had refused accommodation, Mr Kolvin acknowledged that homelessness was a complex matter and that the Applicant analysed each local area and was experienced in managing these types of social issue.

The Chairman thanked Mr Kolvin for his presentation.

Ms Michelle Steward, Representing the Licensing Authority

Ms Steward stated that the Licensing Authority had made representations in line with the Council’s Policy BGO1(Bingo) which stated that applications and reviews would be determined subject to the relevant criteria in Policies OBJ1 to OBJ3, and other policies, including Policy LOC1 (Location Policy), within the Statement of Licensing Principles for Gambling.

Referring to Policy LOC1, which stated that –

“The sensitive location is defined as any premises which is within close proximity or on a main route to a school, educational institution, hostel or other sensitive locations where there is the potential for exposing children, young people or other vulnerable persons to gambling”;

Ms Steward noted that the proposed location of this new bingo venue must be considered as part of the application due to the local area profile and its potential to impact upon the promotion of the gambling objectives. Specifically, Ms Steward referred to the mix of venues on Edgeware Road, including retail, restaurants, pubs and a casino.

Ms Steward then referred the Sub Committee to Policy OBJ1, as set out in her representation, which stated that –

“To prevent gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime, the Licensing Authority will apply the following criteria and take into account the following considerations where relevant in determining applications”

[The representation then listed the criteria and considerations].

In response to these policy considerations and questions posed in the Licensing Authority’s representations, the Applicant had proposed a condition regarding staffing levels and had agreed several conditions with the Police. The Applicant had also provided further plans to show the location of the premises’ CCTV cameras.

Regarding Policy OBJ2[3], which requires that gambling must be conducted in a fair and open way, the Applicant had submitted additional information including operating procedures, training manuals and signage.

Referring to Policy OBJ3,[4] which addressed protecting children and other vulnerable persons from harm or exploitation by gambling, Ms Steward noted that the definition of vulnerable persons included persons who gambled more than they wanted to gamble; people gambling beyond their means; and people who could not make informed decisions about their gambling due to mental impairment and/or the effect of alcohol and/or drugs.

In response to questions set out in the Licensing Authority’s representation about the definition of vulnerable persons, the Applicant had provided a definition that was in line with Westminster City Council’s policy. The Applicant had also submitted staff training guides in relation to vulnerable persons, self-exclusion forms, and contact details for local services and GAMCARE.

Ms Steward stated that the Sub Committee must also be satisfied that the Applicant had met all the requirements under Policy BG01 (Bingo).[5] The Council’s “Statement of Licensing Principles for Gambling” stated that the reasons for Policy BG01 included –

“To avoid a situation where a premises holds a bingo premises licence primarily to benefit from the gaming machine allowance, the Licensing Authority will need to be satisfied that bingo can be played in any premises for which a premises licence is issued …”.[6]

In conclusion, Ms Stewart stated that the Sub Committee must be satisfied that the Applicant had met all the requirements regarding Policy BG01. In summary, to avoid a situation where a premises holds a bingo premises licence primarily to benefit from the gaming machine allowance; to ensure appropriate weight was given to Policy OBJ3; to ensure that the duties of young persons aged 16 to 17 who may be employed by the premises were not connected with gaming or gaining machines; and that applications were determined subject to the relevant criteria of Policies OBJ1 to OBJ3.

In response to questions by Members, Ms Steward provided the following information.

(a)      It was for the Sub Committee to take into consideration the sensitivity of the location of the premises when determining the application.[7]

(b)      Regarding Policy BGO1 and the reasons for that policy, including “To avoid a situation where a premises holds a bingo premises licence primarily to benefit from the gaming machine allowance”, an application must not exceed the gaming machine allowance.[8]

Horatio Chance, Legal Adviser, Westminster City Council

Mr Chance confirmed that he would like clarification on a few conditions that had been discussed during the proceedings, as follows.

Additional Information Pack 2: Proposed Operational Conditions (Pages 40 & 41)

(1)   Condition 10: Individuals who are deemed to be under the influence of excessive alcohol shall not be allowed to enter the premises.

Mr Chance proposed that the wording be amended to include the words “refused entry to”. Mr Kolvin stated he had no objection to the revised wording.

[The Chairman subsequently proposed that the words “or drugs” also be added to this condition and this was agreed”].

Amend to Read: Individuals who are deemed to be under the influence of excessive alcohol or drugs shall be refused entry to the premises.

(2)   Condition 17: There shall be an external camera at the premises which will provide live images to staff in the service counter area.

That the Applicant provide the relevant authorities with information as to the location of the external camera.

(3)   Condition 22: The Licensee shall implement a policy of banning any customers who engage in crime, disorder or antisocial behaviour within or outside the premises.

Amend to Read: The Licensee shall implement and maintain a policy of banning any customers who engage in crime, disorder or antisocial behaviour within or outside the premises.

(4)   Condition 24: The Licensee will ensure that customer toilets are checked hourly for evidence of drugtaking.

Amend to Read: The Licensee will ensure that customer toilets are checked hourly for evidence of drugtaking and a log/record kept for immediate inspection by authorised officers.

Mr Kolvin stated that the amendments to the proposed conditions were agreed.

Regarding Condition 17, it was proposed by Mr Kolvin that the condition be amended to read, as follows –

17. There shall be an external camera at the premises, the position to be agreed with the Metropolitan Police, which will provide live images to staff in the service counter area.

[There followed a brief discussion on the location and types of cameras available].

Mr Simpkin suggested, considering the conversation that had just taken place, that Condition 17 be amended to read –

“17. There shall be an external camera at the premises that shall have sufficient coverage of the external frontage and which will provide live images to staff in the service counter area”.

After further discussion, during which Mr Kolvin confirmed that it was proposed that a dome camera be installed at this location which would provide wide coverage of the premises’ frontage, the revised wording, as proposed by Mr Simpkins, was agreed.

Mr Simpkin, Head of Licensing Policy, Westminster City Council

Mr Simpkin stated that he would like clarification on the proposed number of gaming machines. He noted that, on one of the plans of the venue in the papers before the Sub Committee, there were 48 seated gaming machine positions and the Applicant had referred to there being 70 machines in total.

Referring to the Premises Plans at Appendix 1 on Page 19 of the Agenda Pack, Mr Kolvin stated that, at the end of many of the rows of terminals shown on the Plan, there were three Tri-Max machines [listed under the “Machines Legend” on the Plan], each machine counting as one gaming machine.

In response to a further question about the Electronic Bingo Terminals (EBT’s) having access to Category C and D games, and whether they came within the required 20:80 split of gaming machines, as stipulated in the statutory provisions, Mr Tipple, Head of Product, Cashino Gaming Ltd., confirmed that all the EBT’s were within the gaming machine allowance. He also confirmed that none of the gaming machines had any bingo content on them.

Regarding references to the premises being used primarily as a gaming machine establishment, Mr Kolvin stated that the content of the Applicant’s offer in terms of gaming machines and bingo, and its general approach to the operating model had been approved by the Gambling Commission as part of the operating licence. By way of background, Mr Kolvin stated that there had been a discussion in regulatory circles a few years ago about activity that was primarily taking place in various types of licensed premises. In response to that discussion, the Gambling Commission Replaced Its Rule on “Primary Gambling Activity” and replaced it with the following rule[9]

Social Responsibility Code Provision 9.1.2

Gaming Machines in Gambling Premises – Bingo

All Non-Remote Bingo Operating Licences

1.     Gaming machines may be made available for use in licensed bingo premises only where there are also substantive facilities for non-remote bingo, provided in reliance on this licence, available in the premises.


3.     Licensees must ensure that the function along with the internal and/or external presentation of the premises are such that a customer can reasonably be expected to recognise that it is a premises licence for the purposes of providing bingo facilities.

To demonstrate its compliance with Paragraph 3, the Applicant had included a photograph[10] of one of its premises’ frontage which clearly stated, “Bingo Played Here”.

Mr Kolvin suggested that the use of the word “primarily” in the Council’s policy predated the discussion on primary use. He stated that, according to the Council’s policy, the Sub Committee had to be satisfied that bingo could be played in any premises from which a premises licence was issued.

In response to a question by the Chairman, Mr Kolvin stated that, unlike other licensed premises, there was no bell curve or sinewave of customer footfall in and out of the applicant’s premises. Instead, there was a regular and steady flow of a small number of customers with a short customer “dwell time” at the premises, with no issues of nuisance or impact. In addition, the Applicant monitored and predicted footfall and would roster staff accordingly.

In response to a further question by the Chairman regarding complaints by residents on Edgeware Road about noise late at night, Mr Kolvin stated that it was not his client’s experience that persons leaving late-night licensed venues then went to one of his client’s premises which may be open 24 hours a day. What did happen was that people who had been working in restaurants or had finished shift work may visit the premises at late night.

Mr Kolvin went on to say that he did not rely on fact that the Gambling Act 2005 specifically excluded nuisance as a relevant consideration. He stated that it was his client’s experience that there were more no more issues about nuisance late at night than there were during the day. He noted that it had been PC Lewis’s view that, even with 24-hour opening, the demographic and product was such that it would not contribute to Crime and Disorder at night.

           SUMMING UP

At this stage of the proceedings, the Chairman invited the various parties who had made representations to sum up their representations, if they so wished.

Philip Kolvin, QC (On Behalf of the Applicant)

Mr Kolvin asked that the Sub Committee, when Members retired to consider their decision, look at Paragraphs 25 and 26 of his skeleton argument[11], as follows –

Extract from the Skeleton Argument of Philip Kolvin, QC

The Law

25. As the Sub-Committee will be aware, each piece of licensing legislation sets out a different approach to the question of grant. The approach relevant to gambling is in section 153 of the Gambling Act 2005:

“In exercising their functions under this Part, a licensing authority shall aim to permit the use of premises for gambling insofar as the authority thinks it:

(a)  in accordance with any relevant code of practice [issued by the gambling commission]

(b)  in accordance with any relevant guidance issued by the Commission

(c)   reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives (subject to (a) and (b))

(d)  in accordance with the [authority’s statement of licensing policy] (subject to (a) to (c)).”

26. The following points should be noted:

a.    The test is mandatory: “a licensing authority shall…”

b.    The obligation to “aim to permit” where (a) – (d) are satisfied is described by the Gambling Commission in its guidance as “the licensing authority’s primary obligation” (AIP1/136).

c.     The “aim to permit” is explained in the leading textbook Paterson’s[12] (AIP1/137):

“… It creates a presumption in favour of granting the premises licence since it is only if the licence is granted that the premises may lawfully be used for gambling. But the duty seems to go further than that. The verb ‘to aim’ is defined by the OED as meaning ‘To calculate one’s course with a view to arrive (at a point); to direct one’s course, to make one’s object to attain. Hence to have it as an object, to endeavour earnestly…’ A person who ‘aims’ to achieve a result will usually take active steps to bring it about. The provision appears to place a duty upon the licensing authority to exercise their powers so far as is lawfully possible to achieve a position in which they can grant the premises licence and thus permit the premises to be used for gambling.”

As the Gambling Commission Guidance says:

“Licensing authorities should not turn down applications for premises licences where relevant objections can be dealt with through use of conditions” (AIP1/135).

d.    Conditions should only be added where it is necessary to do so, and even then, such conditions need to be proportionate to the circumstances requiring a response, relevant, directly related, fair and reasonable (AIP1/137).

e.    As the Guidance states: “Any refusal should be for reasons which demonstrate that the licensing objectives will not or are unlikely to be met” (AIP1/135). That means demonstrate by evidence.

f.      Conversely, the following considerations are legally irrelevant to the determination of an application for a premises licence:

i.       A dislike of gambling (AIP1/135).

ii.     A general notion that it is undesirable to allow gambling premises in an area (AIP1/135).

iii.    Moral or ethical objections to gambling (AIP1/135).

iv.    The demand for gambling premises (see section 153 Gambling Act 2005). As such, objections which state that there are enough gambling establishments in a locality may be relevant to planning, but they are irrelevant to licensing.

v.     Planning considerations (see section 210 Gambling Act 2005).

vi.    Nuisance (see Guidance by Gambling Commission, AIP1/131).

Extract Ends

Referring to the paragraphs in his skeleton argument, Mr Kolvin stated that the Gambling Act 2005 posed several questions, as follows:

Was the application –

1.     In accordance with the relevant Codes of Practice?

It was his submission that it was.

2.     In accordance with relevant guidance?

It was his admission that it was.

3.     Was it reasonably consistent with the licensing objections?

The Gambling Commission reminded the Sub Committee that, in relation to “fair and open”, this objective was satisfied if the operator had an operating licence. The reference to “reasonably consistent” being hierarchical to 1 & 2 (above) and the “aim to permit” requirement. For the reasons set out in his presentation, it was the Applicant’s contention that the application was “reasonably consistent”.

4.     Was it [subject to the foregoing], in accordance with the Statement of Licensing Policy?

It was the Applicant’s submission that the application was reasonably consistent with the Council’s Statement of Licensing Policy[13] and that it met the requirements of all the relevant elements of the policy.

The Gambling Act 2005 said that the Sub Committee should “aim to permit” (the application). The Gambling Commission had said that is the Sub Committee’s primary obligation, and Paterson’s described this as a presumption i.e., the Sub Committee sets out to grant the application and, in so doing, if it hits a roadblock, it should consider what conditions might be necessary to overcome the roadblock. Mr Kolvin noted there had been a full discussion on proposed conditions and the hours of operation that the Applicant could accept that would make the application a viable business proposition.

Mr Kolvin referred to the Gambling Commission’s advice that an application should only be refused for reasons that can be demonstrated on the evidence that was before the Sub Committee. It was the Applicant’s contention that the evidence before the Sub Committee did not demonstrate that it was necessary to refuse the application.

In conclusion, Mr Kolvin stated that his client was a highly conscientious company and it knew, from experience, how to run these premises without causing harm to the licensing objectives, and which honoured its relationships with local authorities, local police and local caregivers, and that it would work with the local authority to ensure that the licence operated in a satisfactory, discreet and low-key manner and without harm.

Should the Sub Committee wish to discuss conditions, the Applicant would value being part of that conversation.


At this stage in the proceedings, the Chairman adjourned the meeting so that Members could retire to consider their decision. She stated that the Sub Committee would not announce its decision today but that a summary of the decision would be sent to the various parties within five working days.

The Chairman then closed the Live part of the virtual meeting.


It was the Sub Committee’s decision to APPROVE the application as set out in the Appendix to this minute.


Having read the report by the Director of Public Protection and Licensing summarising the application and setting out representations by the Licensing Authority; and having read the additional information submitted by the Applicant in Additional Information Packs 1 & 2; and the skeleton argument submitted by Mr Philip Kolvin, QC, the Sub Committee, although concerned about the very large number of gaming machines proposed for the premises, was satisfied that, under the requirements of the Gambling Act 2005, and in accordance with the Gambling Commission’s “Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice”, it was correct to approve the application, subject to a restriction of the hours that the premises were authorised to operate and the added conditions, as agreed by the Applicant with the Metropolitan Police Service.

In reaching its decision, the Sub Committee noted that the default hours set by Parliament for bingo premises were:

·       Bingo: 09:00 hours to 00:00 hours

·       Gaming Machines: 24 hours

The Applicant had sought to change the default hours for bingo to:

·       Sunday to Thursday: 07:00 hours to 01:00 hours

·       Friday & Saturday: 07:00 hours to 02:00 hours.

In his skeleton argument, Mr Kolvin stated that, if necessary, the Applicant would be prepared to consider restricting its opening hours to 07:00 hours to 02:00 hours, Monday to Sunday.

Policy OBJ1

Notwithstanding that the Police had withdrawn their representation after agreeing conditions with the Applicant, the Sub Committee was of the view that it was necessary to restrict the opening hours to those referred to by Mr Kolvin in his skeleton argument i.e., 07:00 hours to 02:00 hours. In so doing, the Sub Committee was mindful of Council Policy OBJ1, which stated:

“To prevent gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime, the licensing authority will apply the following criteria and take into account the following considerations, where relevant, in determining applications and reviews”.

The criteria for policy OBJ1, stated at Paragraph 10.1 of the Council’s Statement of Gambling Principles, was:

“Whether the premises make or will make a contribution to the levels of crime and disorder and whether the Applicant has demonstrated that he has, or intends to, implement sufficient controls to prevent gambling from being a source of, and/or associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime, if the application is granted”.

The relevant consideration for the Sub Committee in the present case was that set out in Paragraph 10.1.5 of the Statement of Gambling Principles which said:

“Whether sufficient management measures are proposed or are in place to prevent the premises being a source of, or associated with crime or disorder, or used to support crime either as a place of association or to avoid apprehension”

As there were significant levels of crime late at night on Edgeware Road, including money-laundering, as evidenced by the numerous conditions agreed between the Police and the applicant, the Sub Committee was of the view that it was necessary to restrict the hours of operation if the application was to meet the following Licensing Objective:

“To prevent gambling being a source of, or associated with, crime and disorder”.

Policy OBJ3

The Sub Committee was also mindful of Council Policy OBJ3, which stated:

“To protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling, the Licensing Authority will apply the following criteria and take into account the following considerations, where relevant, in determining applications and reviews”.

The reasons for Policy OBJ3, as set out at Paragraphs 12.2 to 12.4 of the Council’s Statement of Gambling Principles defined vulnerable persons as a group of persons including:

“People who gamble more than they want to; people who gamble beyond their means; and people who may not be able to make informed or balanced decisions about gambling due to a mental impairment, alcohol or drugs”.

The Sub Committee was aware of groups of young men of varying ethnicities who gathered on Edgeware Road who may be classified as vulnerable persons. Applying the criteria for policy OBJ3, set out at Paragraph 12.1 of the Council’s Statement of Gambling Principles:

“Whether there are appropriate measures in place to protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling”

and the relevant consideration set out at Paragraph 12.1.4 of the Statement of Gambling Principles:

“Whether sufficient management measures are proposed or are in place to protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling”;

the Sub Committee was of the view that, if the application was to promote the following licensing objective –

“To protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling”;

it was necessary that the hours of operation be restricted to the hours that Mr Kolvin had suggested in his skeleton argument and that the Applicant would be prepared to consider i.e., 07:00 hours to 02:00 hours.



[1] Cumulative Impact Area

[2] B3 gaming machines are restricted to Adult Gaming Centres.

[3] "To ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, the Licensing Authority will apply the following criteria and take into account the following considerations, where relevant, in determining applications and reviews: [criteria & considerations]

[4] "To protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling, the Licensing Authority will apply the following criteria and take into account the following considerations, where relevant, in determining applications and reviews. [criteria & considerations]

[5] Applications and reviews will be determined, subject to the relevant criteria in Policies OBJ1, OBJ 2, OBJ3 and other policies within this statement [Statement of Licensing Principles for Gambling]

[6] “Statement of Licensing Principles for Gambling”, Paragraph 23.4.

[7] The Licensing Authority's representation noted that a 300 metre radius search of the premises had identified 4,689 residents and 19 licences under the Gambling Act 2005. A further search of the Council's GIS mapping system revealed four schools located within 300 metres from the premises, three hostels, and five Faith Groups.

[8] Gambling Commission Guidance Part 18: Bingo

18.8: S.172(7) [of the Gambling Act 2005], as amended, provides that the holder of a bingo premises licence may make available for use a number of category B gaming machines not exceeding 20% of the total number of gaming machines on the premises. For example, a premises with a total of 25 gaming machines available for use can make five or fewer category B3 gaming machines available on that premises.… There are no restrictions on the number of category C and D machines that can be made available. Regulations state that category B machines at bingo premises are restricted to subcategory B3 (SI 2007/2158: Categories of Gaming Machine Regulations 2007) (but not B3A) and B4 machines.

[9] Page 239 of Additional Information Pack 1

[10] Page 13 of Additional Information Pack 2

[11] Mr Kolvin's skeleton argument is attached as an appendix to these minutes.

[12] Jeremy Phillips (Editor), “Paterson's Licensing Acts 2020”: LexisNexis Butterworths, London 2020

[13] Westminster City Council Statement of Gambling Principles

Supporting documents: