Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Bill Lee, e-mail:  william.lee@hounslow.gov.uk or by phone on 020 8583 2068 

Items
No. Item

5.

Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communications from Members

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Keith Anderson, Harleen Atwal Hear, Peter Carey, Elizabeth Hughes, Adrian Lee and Daanish Saeed.

6.

Minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2015 pdf icon PDF 36 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 9 November 2015 were agreed to be an accurate record and signed.

7.

Review of Statement of Gambling Principles pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please see the report by the Chair of the Licensing Committee (agenda item 3).

 

The report was presented by Lewis Aldous, Licensing Manager. Mr Aldous advised that the Council supported the London Borough of Newham’s initiative to encourage the reduction in the amount that may be wagered on one ‘spin’ of a Fixed Odds Betting Terminal (FOBT) from £100 to £2. There was no legal basis to make the lower limit compulsory but it was hoped that the practice would be followed voluntarily. 93 local authorities had lobbied the government to permit a legal reduction but without success; however the government had advised that councils could incorporate a recommendation in their statements of gambling principles, which was what Hounslow intended to do.

 

Enforcement work was to be carried out during 2016, particularly regarding amusement arcades and test purchases would be made. Premises failing the tests would initially receive written warnings and would be tested again at a later date. A second failure would result in a review of their licence and in the case of underage sales officers would seek revocation.  Appropriate training would be offered to members taking part in any review hearings. Mr Aldous reminded members that although premises with alcohol licences were permitted up to two fruit machines (which they were required to notify the Council of) other unlicensed premises, such as takeaways and minicab offices, were not allowed to have them. Some did however and members had reported several examples of such unlawful operation. Storage was being arranged to enable officers to seize the machines in these cases, which was their preferred option. Underage gambling was being prioritised as officers felt it to be the most important aspect of enforcement.

 

Cllr Guy Lambert asked if Coral’s statement that there had been no proliferation in the number of betting shops was correct. Mr Aldous acknowledged that there had been a major slowdown in the number of new betting shops in the borough, however following the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005, which became law in 2007, the numbers had surged dramatically meaning there were far more such premises now then ten years previously. There were 59 bookmakers’ shops in the borough at present, the second highest number in London after Newham. Frequently the same chain opened more than one shop in the same street as the law allowed a maximum of four FOBTs in one premises and they were so profitable it was worthwhile opening a second shop just to obtain another four machines. There was nothing the council could do about this trend under current legislation.  In addition to the 59 betting shops there were around ten arcades with coin machines and two bingo halls in the borough.

 

Cllr Tony Louki requested numbers be kept fully up to date to enable an accurate response if, for example, a bookmaking chain claimed that there had been a fall in numbers; the statistics would also allow proliferation to be used as an argument in reviews. Mr Aldous advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Urgent Business

Any business which the Chair agrees to accept on grounds of urgency.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.