Premises licences

Premises licences allow an operator who has an operating licence, granted by the Gambling Commission, to open a Gambling Establishment. Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council will be responsible for awarding premises licences. We will, when making a decision on an application for a premises licence, take into account:

  • the Licensing objectives;
  • guidance from the Gambling Commission;
  • our own three year Licensing Policy which is a statement of Gambling Principles.

Definition of “premises” - Premises is defined in the Act as “any place”.  Different premises licences cannot apply in respect of a single premise at different times.  However, it is possible for a single building to be subject to more than one premises licence, provided they are for different parts of the building and the different parts of the building can be reasonably regarded as being different premises.  Whether different parts of a building can properly be regarded as being separate premises will always be a question of fact in the circumstances.  However, the Gambling Commission does not consider that areas of a building that are artificially or temporarily separate can be properly regarded as different premises.

There are three types of conditions that can be attached to a premises licence.

  • Mandatory conditions - These will be imposed by the Secretary of State and may not be changed by us.
  • Default conditions - These are imposed by the Secretary of State but may be changed or excluded by us when granting a premises licence e.g. opening hours.
  • Licensing authority conditions - We, as well as being able to amend or exclude default conditions may add conditions to any premises licence

It is noted that there are conditions which the licensing authority cannot attach to premises licences which are:

  • any condition on the premises licence which makes it impossible to comply   with an operating licence condition;
  • conditions relating to gaming machine categories, numbers, or method of operation;
  • conditions which provide that membership of a club or body be required (the Gambling Act  2005 specifically removes the membership requirement for casino and bingo clubs and this provision prevents it being reinstated; and
  • conditions in relation to stakes, fees, winning or prizes

A club which holds a Club Premises Certificate under the Licensing Act 2003 will need to apply to a licensing authority for the necessary permits to have gaming machines on their premises.

We will determine this application. A club who does not have a Club Premises Certificate will also need to copy his application to the Gambling Commission and the Chief Officer of the local police force, who will be allowed to make objections on any application.


Where a premises does not hold a premises licence but wishes to provide gaming machines, it may apply to the licensing authority for this permit. It should be noted that the applicant must show that the premises will be wholly or mainly used for making gaming machines available for use (section 238).

The Gambling Act 2005 states that a licensing authority may prepare a statement of principles that they propose to consider in determining the suitability of an applicant for a permit and in preparing this statement, and/or considering applications, it need not (but may) have regard to the licensing objectives and shall have regard to any relevant guidance issued by the Commission under section 25. The Gambling Commission’s Guidance for local authorities also states: “In their three year licensing policy statement, licensing authorities may include a statement of principles that they propose to apply when exercising their functions in considering applications for permits, licensing authorities will want to give weight to child protection issues”

Guidance also states “…An application for a permit may be granted only if the licensing authority is satisfied that the premises will be used as an unlicensed FEC (family entertainment centre), and if the chief officer of police has been consulted on the application…” Licensing authorities might wish to consider asking applications to demonstrate:

  • a full understanding of the maximum staked and prizes of the gambling that is permissible in unlicensed FEC’s;
  • that  the applicant has no relevant convictions (those that are set out in schedule 7 of the Act; and
  • that staff are trained to have a full understanding of the maximum stakes and prizes (24.7)

It should be noted that the licensing authority cannot attach conditions to this type of permit.

(Alcohol) Licensed premises gaming machine permits

There is a provision in the act for a premises licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises, to automatically have 2 gaming machines, of categories C and/or D. The premises merely need to notify the licensing authority. The licensing authority can remove the automatic authorisation in respect of any particular premises if:

  • provision of the machines is not reasonably consistent with the pursuit of the licensing objectives.
  • gaming has taken place on the premises that breaches a condition of section 282 of the Gambling Act
  • the premises are mainly used for gaming; or
  • an offence under the Gambling Act has been committed on the premises.

If a premises wishes to have more than 2 machines, then it needs to apply for a permit and the licensing authority must consider the application based upon the licensing objectives, any guidance issued by the Gambling Commission issued under section 25 of the Gambling Act 2005, and “such matters as they think relevant”.

It is recognised that some alcohol licensed premises may apply for a premises licence for their non-alcohol licensed areas. Any such application would most likely need to be applied for, and dealt with as an Adult Gaming Centre premises licence.

Club gaming and club machines permits

Members clubs and Miners’ welfare institutes (but not Commercial Clubs) may apply for a Club Gaming Permit or a Clubs Gaming machines permit. The Club Gaming Permit will enable the premises to provide gaming machines (3 machines of categories B, C or D), equal chance gaming and games of chance as set-out in forthcoming regulations. A Club Gaming machine permit will enable the premises to provide gaming machines (3 machines of categories B, C or D). 

Temporary use notices

There are a number of statutory limits as regards temporary use notices. Please contact the licensing team at the address below for these limits.

Occasional use notices

The licensing authority has very little discretion as regards these notices aside from ensuring that the statutory limit of 8 days in a calendar year is not exceeded. This licensing authority will consider the definition of a ‘track’ and whether the applicant is permitted to avail him/herself of the notice. 

For further information please contact the licensing department.

Public protection service (Licensing), Floor 3, Old Town Hall, Blackburn BB1 7DY
tel: 01254 267649
fax: 01254 267672

Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is as comprehensive and accurate as possible. However, in attempting to simplify the law, certain requirements have been omitted. Full details of what you must do are in the legislation itself.

Further advice can be obtained from our office using the contact details above, however you are advised to seek legal advice when applying for any permission(s) under this legislation. We must also advise that only the Courts can give an authoritative opinion on statute law.

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