In association with Poppleston Allen

Legal Q&A: should pubs let punters use their Wi-Fi to bet online?

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Remain vigilant: betting on pub Wi-Fi explained. Picture credit: Ivanko_Brnjakovic/istock/shutterstock.co.uk
Remain vigilant: betting on pub Wi-Fi explained. Picture credit: Ivanko_Brnjakovic/istock/shutterstock.co.uk

Related tags: Horse racing, Gambling

Should a publican allow customers to use their Wi-Fi to bet online? Legal expert Poppleston Allen explains the legal situation.

Question:

With the summer horse racing season upon us, I have noticed a few customers using my premises Wi-Fi connection to access online betting websites and also completing their betting slips while on the premises. Should I be preventing this?     

Answer:

You are right to raise the question because 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 because even though you are not providing betting, you could be considered to be facilitating it.

You must also prevent licensed bookmakers from taking bets on the premises because, 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 but 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 a review. 

Related topics: Licensing law

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