Earlier this week planning rules came into force to make it easier for shops to switch use without having to seek planning permission.
The new laws, introduced for a two-year period in a bid to help fill empty shops and regenerate town centres, will allow businesses to open in high street premises without the need for a public consultation.
However, the move sparked a report that betting shops would be allowed to open up in pubs – a move branded ‘misleading’ by industry experts.
“This is simply not true,” Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers spokeswoman Kate Nicholls told the PMA. “Whilst the planning law would allow an empty pub to be converted into a bookmakers you could not split the premises in two and operate both side by side.
“Gambling Act 2005 prohibits gambling in pubs and regulates the activities in gambling premises. It is simply not possible for a pub to have an alcohol and a gambling licence.
“This is a misrepresentation... This is about planning permission to bring empty premises back into use only.”
Nick Arron, a partner at legal firm Poppleston Allen agreed: “There are conditions attached to betting premises licenses which prevent betting shops operating in pubs…They are mandatory, attached to all betting premises licenses and they cannot be removed.”
Arron added it was possible to split a pub and create separate premises for a betting shop with no connecting access but added “nothing has changed from a gambling law perspective in this regard.”
A spokesman for the British Beer & Pub Association said: “As betting shops cannot open or operate in pubs, you would have to run it as a separate business, licensed under the Gambling Act 2005.”
Leslie MacLeod-Miller, chief executive of amusement industry voice BACTA added that a number of barriers already exist for premises looking to change to and offer B2 machines.
“In order to open a betting shop you need operating and premises licences to prevent any changes local authorities deem unsuitable,” he said.