The Gambling Commission issues guidance on the ability of licensing authorities to refund gambling premises annual fees or accept pro-rate fees.
The advice is issued following reports that licensing authorities have been approached by a national betting operator requesting partial refunds.
The Gambling Commission’s advice is:
"In relation to premises licence annual fees, the Commission’s view is that no regulations providing for refunds have been made under section 184(4) of the Gambling Act, and so LAs do not have the discretion to refund annual fees for premises licences where the operator ceases to trade during the year. Our view is that the power to authorise refunds is specifically reserved for the Secretary of State by virtue of section 184(4). Similarly, there is no scope within The Gambling (Premises Licence Fees) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 /The Gambling (Premises Licence Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 for pro-rata payment of annual fees where the premises intends to close within a few months of the fee being paid. The Commission’s view is that a local authority doing either of these would be acting ultra vires; however, this is not legal advice and only the courts can make a final decision."