Q. We’ve just had Royal Ascot and the Derby and, I’m told by a customer who likes a flutter, there is a decent summer of horse racing ahead. Our pub is close to Nottingham racecourse and we have a regular stream of punters and bookies come into the pub. It’s made me think, what are the rules on betting in pubs and can the bookies take bets while enjoying a pint in our pub?
A. No commercial betting is allowed at all on licensed premises and the Gambling Commission has a history of issuing warnings to publicans regarding betting in pubs.
More importantly, if you are found to be providing facilities for betting in your premises, you risk the local authority carrying out a review of your premises licence because the offence would be relevant to the crime and disorder objective under the Licensing Act 2003.
You can provide betting slips at your premises as long as your customers take the slips to the bookmaker themselves and you don’t organise their collection and delivery to the bookie.
Your customers can use your Wi-Fi to connect to the internet via their mobile phone, tablet or other mobile devices in order to use betting websites. As long as they are using their own account to place bets you would not be committing an offence.
Your customers can use your telephone or their own mobile phones to place bets as long as they use their own telephone accounts.
You must not permit licensed bookmakers to sit in your premises and take bets. Although they may hold an operating licence issued by the Gambling Commission, they are not permitted to operate within licensed premises.
Both the Gambling Commission and local authorities take a hard line with regard to illegal betting activities. If you are convicted of facilitating illegal betting, you could face up to 51 weeks imprisonment (or six months if convicted in Scotland) and/or a fine for each incidence of illegal betting.
More likely you could find you have limitations placed on your premises licence, or even its revocation.