Landlord has to contact supplier if machine fails

Related tags License Officer

QSince we changed our gaming machines, we've had complaints from one customer that one machine is not paying out properly. We have a rental agreement...

QSince we changed our gaming machines, we've had complaints from one customer that one machine is not paying out properly. We have a rental agreement and the supplier's name is on the side of the machine. We have told him to contact them, he claims that we must pay him over the bar. Who is right?

AIn the first place, it is your responsibility: you cannot direct your customers back to the supplier as you are the ones making the machine available for play.

However, although technically it is illegal to pay a shortfall over the bar, the Gaming Board allows it to be done on one occasion if a genuine shortfall is clearly shown. Thereafter, the pub or club must call out the machine supplier to check the machine. It is not the responsibility of the customer.

However, if this claim has happened more than once, it is more likely to be something to do with the customer. You should have the machine checked yourself but point out to the player that the law only allows the payment of coins by the machine and it is illegal to make good any claimed shortfall from the till (apart from the fact that it is bad practice to use till money as a form of petty cash).

Copyright licences cannot be transferred by tenants

QWe are taking over a pub shortly and have been told that the current owners have not applied for the premises licence yet from the local authority. Will this also cover the various music licences such as PRS and PPL if the existing tenant is retiring?

ANo, this has nothing to do with the premises licence, or the provision of regulated entertainment at the pub. You will need to take out a fresh licence from each of the copyright agencies concerned.

Unlike other forms of licence, these copyright licences do not operate on a transfer system and require the incoming tenant or occupier to take out a fresh licence.

The companies will then refund the unexpired portion of the copyright fee to the outgoing licensee. The reason for this is that, unlike other licences, it is a payment in respect of ongoing copyright activity, not a one-off payment, so when the copyright obligation ceases, there will be a proportion of the fee which is not due.

The situation is different with a public entertainment licence, which may be transferred from one occupier to another. You should be aware that the existing PEL will be needed right up until the Second Appointed Day. Your local council licensing officer will be able to give you advice on the procedure to be followed.

Thimble measures still legal when serving spirits

QCould you clarify the situation over thimble measures for spirits which are located on the back bar? Often they are used without being washed between servings and the barman pours spirits with his back to the customer, so that the exact measure cannot be seen. Are they still legal in the licensed trade?

AYes they are, but the problems of their use still continue. They have been a bone of contention within the licensed trade for as long as I can remember. It certainly causes trading standards officers to question their continuing use, and also pub operators, who cannot be entirely sure of adequate stock control when such devices are used. They have been known to be widely abused by unscrupulous staff for the very reasons you point out, especially when the pouring is done out of sight of the customer. However, thimble measures are still legal. The issue of cleanliness is an environmental health one, rather than a weights and measures one, although a cross-contaminated spirit would technically breach the Food Safety Act. However, legal action on this point is comparatively rare.

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