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Staying on the right side of the gambling law

Can bookmaker staff take bets from inside my pub?

Q: I read recently that staff from a betting shop belonging to a well known operator were seen on Grand National Day wearing promotional clothing and taking bets from customers outside a pub, directly across the road from the betting shop. If a bookies staff can take bets from the road then presumably I can invite them into my pub for them to take bets from my customers during the World Cup games?

A: Most certainly not! I understand from the Gambling Commission that the staff in question were having a smoking break outside of the betting shop. They were approached by customers who had been sitting outside the pub and asked to place small bets on their behalf amounting to a total of £10. The bookmaker’s staff took the money and placed the bets at the shop and returned to give the customers their receipts.

This is a breach of Section 37 of the Gambling Act 2005. It is an offence to provide betting facilities at a place, for instance outside a pub or indeed inside a pub, not issued with a betting premises licence. This was a one off activity and I believe the operator has been in discussions with the Gambling Commission on preventing repeat incidents, and internal disciplinary proceedings have taken place against the staff in question.

More importantly if you were to invite bookmakers into your premises and they took bets from your customers you would be allowing an offence to take place on the premises which could have implications under the Crime & Disorder objective of the Licensing Act 2003. For instance, it is the sort of incident that could lead to review of your premises licence.

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