By David Clifton of thePublican.com's legal team of experts from London solicitors Joelson Wilson.
I have reported previously that the gambling review body report contained two key messages for pub operators:
- Research indicates that people may gamble more than they intended and take more risks when they mix alcohol and gambling. Accordingly the further mixing of betting or any other gambling is not something the review body felt it could recommend.
- Commercial gambling should in principle be confined to premises which are specifically licensed for gambling and where that is their main purpose.
We had been confidently expecting that later this year the Queen's Speech would announce that a new Gambling Bill would be progressed in the 2003/04 Parliamentary session. Now it appears considerably less likely.
It seems the government will take the view that new laws on asylum and regional assemblies will merit greater precedence in the Parliamentary timetable than gambling law reform. Nevertheless, the regime that will be imposed under the new Licensing Act is likely to be regarded as something of a model insofar as premises licensing is concerned at least.
My understanding, although rumours are flowing in all directions, is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will continue to publish policy papers setting out their thinking with regard to essential features of the proposed new gambling laws and that a pre-legislative scrutiny process will still take place.
This of course is exactly what the secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, Tessa Jowell, admitted back in March would have been highly desirable for the Licensing Bill. Let us hope that the government will have learned a few lessons from the Licensing Bill episode.