Published: 10 July 2015
Q: I have recently discovered that a few of my customers have been using my premises Wi-Fi connection to access online betting websites. It would be difficult for me to actively police customers’ online activity and I am concerned whether or not I should be preventing this.
A: First of all don’t panic as you may not be breaking any laws and can probably continue to offer your Wi-Fi service to your customers. However, you are right to be concerned as commercial betting is not allowed in licensed premises. If you were found to be providing betting facilities you would be at risk of a potentially unlimited fine and/or imprisonment. Such an offence would also be relevant to the Crime and Disorder objective under the Licensing Act 2003 and your premises licence could be subject to a Review by the Licensing Authority. The good news is that your customers can use your Wi-Fi connection to connect to the internet using their mobile devices and provided that they use their own accounts to place any bets, you are not committing an offence. You should however make sure that you do not advertise your Wi-Fi services as a means to access betting sites as you could then be considered to be providing betting facilities. It is worth noting that you should be vigilant and ensure that your customers do not collect betting slips from each other and take these to a betting shop, as although you are not providing the betting yourself you could be considered to be facilitating betting, which is also an offence.
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