At our Regional Sector Forums in May, Gambling Compliance Director, Gareth Bostock, highlighted a number of our current Class 4 sector projects, including the venue licensing project. This project supports our Vision and Objectives for the Class 4 sector, and contributes specifically to establishing licensing as an effective gateway to the gambling sector and regulating for a trusted and transparent sector.
The project’s key objective is to ensure we identify and manage potential risks during the licensing process. As part of the venue licence application process, we will be talking more to venue operators and societies to better understand the factors that influence decisions about society/venue relationships. This will include applications for new venue licences, venue operator changes to an existing licence, and when a venue transfers from one society to another.
The Gambling Act is clear that attracting venues with financial inducements (and this may be indirectly through the provision of services beyond what is allowable), or seeking to influence grant-making decisions is illegal. We will pay close attention to venue transfer information to ensure we can identify any patterns that may indicate potential areas of risk.
Given the competition that exists for Class 4 venues, societies need to ensure they have confidence that their practices around venue transfers are beyond reproach. Venue operators also need to carefully consider what is being offered to them, and whether accepting new offers is in the best interests of the wider community.
With this approach we aim to ensure the Department continues to play its role in strengthening the integrity of the Class 4 sector and that building stronger communities is at the forefront of sector activity.