It is a requirement for a class 4 licence that the Secretary be satisfied that a venue is not “used mainly” for operating gaming machines (Section 67(1)(k) Gambling Act 2003).
The Department has seen increased interest from the public and territorial authorities about whether venues are being used mainly for operating gaming machines. It is a fundamental requirement for a venue licence that this is not the case.
Accordingly, we will be putting more emphasis on ensuring we remain satisfied that venues are meeting this requirement. This obligation is summarised below to assist:
The Gambling Commission has held that “used mainly” addresses actual activity. That is what actually occurs in a venue, not what could potentially occur. The Commission noted that the assessment is to be made of the whole of the class 4 venue, and not just the gaming area. They also commented that the “use” referred to in section 67(1)(k) is the use the public makes of the venue, not the use made by the venue operator.
In determining whether a venue is “used mainly” for operating gaming machines, we will consider a range of factors including the following:
What proportion of the public floor space (not including toilets, kitchens and other staff-only areas) is given to the operation of gaming machines.
Whether other activities are available at the venue.
Whether the other activities are well stocked and well promoted.
Whether prominence is given to the gaming machines or another activity. For example, are the machines situated at the entrance to the venue, or behind other activities at the venue?
What activity is promoted most heavily at the venue or on signs outside the venue – the gaming machines or some other activity?
Whether most of the patrons in the premises are playing gaming machines or taking part in some other activity (this will vary at different times of the day and on different days of the week and it is the overall picture that will determine the main use of the venue).
The relative turnover from the gaming machines and other activities at the venue.
It is important to note that the requirements around the use of venues are different in the Gambling Act (2003) and the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (2012). A venue may not meet the requirements for its alcohol licence but still comply with the Gambling Act.
However, if a class 4 venue’s primary business is selling alcohol, the loss of its alcohol licence could affect its ability to operate gaming machines because the primary activity must be offered and available at all times that the gaming machines are operating.