Applying policies

Councils must assess all relevant gambling applications against their local gambling policy, and make a decision as to whether to grant or decline consent. The society or club must then apply to the Department, which reviews the council consent as part of its wider assessment of whether to issue the licence.

Under the Gambling Act 2003, Councils must have a class 4 venue policy, which is often referred to as a gambling policy. This may include a relocation policy for gambling venues.

Class 4 venue policies

Applying your gambling policy

Follow these steps every time you receive an application for a:

  • new class 4 venue
  • change to existing class 4 venue licence (this may include relocation)
  • new Agency (or TAB) venue application.

There are four steps:

  1. check council consent is required
  2. consider the application for council consent against your policy
  3. decide whether to consent or decline
  4. notify applicant

Process for applying a gambling policy

Understanding the effects of council consent

There are some key points to be aware of in relation to council consents:

  • A council consent is not able to be revoked once issued, nor can it lapse or expire (unless a class 4 licence is not held for six months or more, in which case the consent lapses).
  • A council does not have any retrospective powers with regards to any consented venues once they have entered the Department's licensing process.
  • Once a council consent has been used and a licence issued for the venue concerned, the consent remains in effect for as long as a class 4 licence is held for the venue.

If a class 4 licence for a venue is not held for six months or more, it lapses (section 98 of Gambling Act). This means:

  • the council consent ceases to have any effect
  • the venue becomes a "new" venue under the Act and the society must apply for a new consent.

New applications for consent must be assessed under the council’s current class 4 venue policy.

Under Section 94 of the Gambling Act, the maximum number of gaming machines permitted to operate on a new venue licence is 9 machines.  However, clubs may be eligible to operate more than 9 machines under certain conditions, providing they are able to obtain council consent and Ministerial approval to do so – see sections 95 and 96 of the Gambling Act for more information.

The Department’s assessment of council consent

If council consent is required, and it has not been given, the Department must refuse to grant a class 4 venue licence – this is one of the criteria the Department must assess when considering whether to issue a licence.

When the Department receives a consented application for a venue licence, it checks the consent for validity and lawfulness.  It will assess:

  • whether the relevant territorial policy, on the papers, allowed the issuing of that consent.
  • whether any amendment made to a council policy was made lawfully with the use of the special consultative procedure under section 83  of the Local Government Act 2002.
  • any other information the Department is aware of that indicates a consent may not have been lawfully granted.