After reports appeared in newspapers stating that gambling may be allowed in pubs, the government released a statement which included the point that “ There is a legal prohibition on a betting shop from operating in a pub.”
Recent newspaper reports that suggested that gambling could be allowed to take place in public houses under new planning laws were the cause of much speculation. For those interested in gambling this news was readily accepted but the same news was not acceptable to opponents of gambling who claimed that the availability of betting shops in pubs could lead to problem gambling.
The British government is bringing in the new planning laws for a trial period of two years to try to revitalise high streets to being people back to town centres that have many vacant shops and other premises.The new planning regulations were interpreted by many as meaning that the premises of a pub could be split in two with a door between the pub and the betting shop. The idea of a pub becoming a betting shop is not entirely new as this has been possible since the 2005 Gambling Act was passed but it has not been as easy to put into practice as the new planning laws seem to suggest. However it is now clearer that the whole idea of gambling being permitted to take place in pubs is not true and that the initial interpretation of the new planning regulations was flawed.Under the 2005 Gambling Act it is forbidden to sell alcohol in a betting shop so it would not be possible to have a pub and betting shop on the same premises even if both had a separate entrance. Therefore it is not possible for a pub to allow gambling on its premises. Public houses cannot hold both a drinks and a gambling licence at the same time. The new rules only allow an empty pub to have its use changed without having to apply for a new licence. The idea behind the government’s plan was to encourage new business into empty buildings in town centres where many businesses are boarded up and so encourage people into towns again.