Licensing and Gaming

We have advised clients in each the leisure gaming and hospitality sectors on all aspects of regulation to include assistance in securing a licence or permit as part of an initial business set up.

Our advice has included assistance in relation to ongoing compliance to include addressing any alterations in layout, renewal and relocation where applicable.

The statutory framework which exists to regulate licensing and gaming in Northern Ireland requires expertise and specialist advice. We have had considerable experience in advising business owners in each sector in connection with both opposed and unopposed applications.

Given the need to engage expert witnesses in certain cases, we have developed a strong relationship with established consultants in the area to support clients in their application.

Frequently Asked Questions

The process for securing a licence for the sale of alcohol or to permit gaming is unique to the rest of the United Kingdom. The grant of a licence (with the exception of an amusement permit) is made by the courts in Northern Ireland whilst in other jurisdictions, these are usually matters for local government and authorities to address.

There are various types of permanent alcohol licences in Northern Ireland, ranging from a public house licence/off licence to conference centres.

No. Whilst each application for a liquor licence is made to the county court, there are various conditions attaching to the application to include the type of premises which you are seeking to have licensed. Northern Ireland adopts what is known as the “surrender” principle which means that in order to apply for the grant of a new public house or off licence you must first surrender to the court an existing licence.

As the application is made to the court and heard by either a magistrate or county court judge (application depending), it is advisable to seek the advice of a solicitor to navigate through the process to ensure compliance with the statutory regime. This applies regardless of the type of licence or permit which is being sought.

The legislation under which an application for a licence is brought affords people owning residing or carrying on business in the vicinity of the premises to be licensed an opportunity to object to an application on a number of grounds as provided for in the legislation, including, where the application is for a public house or an off licence, the number of licensed premises in that particular area are adequate.

It is a matter for an applicant, when applying for a public house or off sales licence regardless of whether there is an objection, to demonstrate that there is a demand for a further public house or off licence as the case may be.

Similar issues around demonstrating an inadequate number of existing premises and demand in a locality also applies to an application in respect of a bookmaking office or bingo licence.

Gordon McElroy
028 9099 3111

Maria Conway
028 9099 3115

Lynsey Henderson
Associate Director
028 9099 3117

Jose Lazaro
028 9099 3114

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