Warning issued to betting operators regarding Occasional Use Notices

The Gambling Commission has warned that before offering betting facilities under an Occasional Use Notice (“OUN”) pursuant to section 39 of the Gambling Act 2005, betting operators should ask themselves the following question: “Is the primary purpose to facilitate betting at genuine sporting events, within the boundaries of the identified venue on a specific date?”  It states that if the answer is yes: “that’s fine” but if the answer is no: “don’t do it”.

This warning follows the Commission becoming aware of some instances of the apparent misuse of OUNs.  It states: “Local sporting clubs or other venues seeking to become tracks through a contrived sporting event have utilised OUNs to solely or primarily facilitate betting taking place on events occurring away from the identified venue, examples include the Cheltenham Festival and Grand National meeting. Whilst we have not introduced a new licence condition limiting the betting to the outcomes of a race, competition or other sporting event taking place at the track in question whilst the OUN is in force, the situation is being kept under review”.

The following are the essential features of an OUN:

  • they are designed to allow licensed betting operators to provide betting facilities at genuine sporting events (such as point-to point racecourses and golf courses for major competitions) within the boundaries of the identified venue on a specific date, without the need for a full betting premises licence
  • the event must be temporary or infrequent; OUNs may not be used for more than eight days in a calendar year in respect of any one venue
  • an OUN must be (a) sent in writing to the local licensing authority in advance of the event and (b) copied to the chief officer of police for the area in which the venue is located (or, in Scotland, the chief constable of the police force for the area)
  • the person administering the gambling under an OUN must have a Gambling Commission operating licence; in general this will be a betting operating licence, or (in the case of pool betting) authorisation by the holder of a pool betting licence under Part 5 of the 2005 Act.