Q&A Using Wi-Fi for Betting

Question:

With the horseracing season upon us and the recent Cheltenham Festival fixture I have noticed a few customers using my premises Wi-Fi connection to access online betting websites and also completing their betting slips whilst on the premises.  Should I be preventing this?     

Answer:

You are right to raise the question as commercial betting is not allowed in licensed premises.  However, your customers are free to use your Wi-Fi connection to access the internet through their mobile devices, provided that they use their own accounts to place bets. 
As long as you do not advertise your Wi-Fi services as a means to access betting sites you will not be committing an offence.

Betting slips can also be completed at your premises provided that you do not organise collection and delivery to the bookmakers.  You should remain vigilant and ensure customers do not collect betting slips from each other and take these to bookies, as even though you are not providing the betting itself, you could be considered to be facilitating it.

You must also prevent licensed bookmakers from taking bets on the premises as although they may have their own licence, they are not allowed to operate within licensed premises.

If you follow the above advice you will not be providing betting facilities although any breach would put you at risk of a potentially unlimited fine and/or imprisonment.  Any offence would also be relevant to the Crime and Disorder objective under the Licensing Act 2003 and your premises licence could be subject to Review. 

For further information on this issue or any other legal gambling problems contact solicitor Richard Bradley on 0115 953 8500.