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Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many applications to open (a) bingo halls and (b) high street bookmakers were approved in each of the last five years. (186778)

The table shows the number of new bingo licences issued under the Gaming Act 1968 by licensing magistrates (licensing boards in Scotland) for the five years from 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2007.

New bingo licences issued from 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2007

April to March each year

Licences issued











Under the Gambling Act 2005 (the 2005 Act), the Gambling Commission (the Commission) is responsible for issuing bingo operating licences to operators; licensing authorities are responsible for issuing bingo premises licences in respect of individual bingo halls. Since 1 January 2007, the Commission has been able to accept applications for bingo operating licences; it has so far issued 218. (Under the 2005 Act the earliest date bingo operating licences or bingo premises licences could take effect was 1 September 2007.)

No figures are available for the period requested for the number of high street bookmakers to whom licences were issued. Prior to the introduction of the 2005 Act, high street bookmakers were authorised by permits issued by magistrates courts; no information was collated centrally. Since 1 January 2007 the Commission has been able to accept applications for general betting operating licences from operators wishing to run high street bookmakers; it has so far issued 691. Licensing authorities are responsible for issuing betting premises licences to high street bookmakers.

Under the 2005 Act the Commission is responsible for collecting information on the number of premises licences issued by licensing authorities. However, the Commission does not yet have figures for how many applications for bingo or betting premises licences have been granted by licensing authorities.