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Licensing Act general information

This page provides general information in relation to Alcohol and Entertainment licensing. If you are unable to find the information you need, please refer to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport website or contact us and we'll be happy to help.

Alcohol sales

A sale constitutes the supply of alcohol by:

  • the sale by retail of alcohol
  • the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club to, or to the order of, a member of the club.

Alcohol sales via the internet or mail order

A Premises Licence is required from where the alcohol is being dispatched, for example; a warehouse, and not from where it is sold, such as a call centre). A Personal Licence holder and Designated Premises Supervisor will also be required at the premises from where the alcohol is dispatched.

Lotteries, raffles, tombolas with alcohol prizes

Lotteries, raffles and tombolas with alcohol as a prize are exempt from licensing provided the following conditions are met:

  • the lottery is promoted as part of a bazaar, sale at work, fete, dinner, dance, sporting or athletic event or other entertainment of a similar character
  • none of the financial proceeds (after the deduction of relevant expenses) are used for private gain
  • none of the prizes are money prizes
  • tickets are sold or issued and the result of the draw is announced at the time of (and in the same place) as the entertainment
  • the lottery is not the main reason to attend the event
  • the alcohol is in a sealed container.

Wholesale alcohol

Wholesales made to other traders for the purposes of their trade do not require a licence. Sales made to holders of a Premises licence, Club Premises certificate, Personal licence or Temporary Event Notice will not require a licence if the sale is for the purposes authorised by those licences.

Underage sales

Everyone involved in sales from on-licensed and off-licensed premises should be aware of their obligations under the Licensing Act 2003 relating to the prevention of sale of alcohol to children.

It is essential that you keep within the law and have systems in place that will act as a 'due diligence' defence to an allegation that an underage sale of alcohol has taken place. If you do sell alcohol to an individual who is under 18 years of age, you could be prosecuted and fined and your licence to sell alcohol could be at risk.

You may find this Icon for pdf guide to underage sales [2.39MB] useful. 


In most circumstances, busking in the streets or open spaces of South Holland will not require the issue of a permit or licence from the licensing team. 

Busking is usually incidental to other activities (such as shopping when in the town centre) and so can be classed as background music, rather than regulated entertainment. However, a licence would be needed if the entertainment provided could be classed as a concert or performance. If the busking has been advertised or there is a specific invitation for people to gather in one place and watch, it is likely that a premises licence or temporary event notice will be needed.

The use of amplification equipment is strictly prohibited without prior consent from the Authority.

If you're planning a licensable activity and would like further information, please contact our licensing team.

If you are wishing to busk outside a shop, you should also obtain permission from the shopkeeper.

Buskers are not allowed to sell CDs or copies of their music to the public. If a busker wishes to sell his/her own pre-recorded CD's, a street trading consent will need to be applied for and issued. There is also a trading consent fee and fees are subject to increases.

Cumulative impact policy

Cumulative impact concerns the potential impact on the promotion of the licensing objectives where concentrations of similar licensed premises are located in one area. As a local authority, we do not currently have a Cumulative Impact Policy and, at present, have no plans to adopt one.

Films and plays

Any exhibition of a film or performance of a play to the public is classed as a licensable activity.  If the premises is not already licensed to show films or plays you can:

Stage hypnotism

All performances which involve hypnotism must be licensed, as stated under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (in England and Wales) and the Hypnotism Act 1952. Hypnotism performances held at a premises must also be licensed for Regulated Entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003.

In order to request a licence for stage hypnotism (any exhibition, demonstration or performance), you must:

  • complete the Icon for pdf stage hypnotism application form [18.51KB] 
  • the hypnotist must also supply a copy of their current Public Liability Insurance. If insurance is issued to an organisation of which the hypnotist is a member, please supply proof of payment of the insurance premium. Public Liability must start at a minimum of £1,000,000.
  • send the completed application and insurance confirmation to

View more information about applying for a Premises Licence.

Gaming and gaming machines

To provide gaming, an eligible premises is one that has an alcohol licence and a bar from where alcohol is served for consumption on the premises (and not with a requirement that alcohol is only served with food). The type of gaming allowed under this Act is known as 'exempt gaming', the gaming must meet a number of conditions:

  • it must be equal chance gaming (for example; bingo, bridge, poker)
  • stakes and prizes must be within the limits stated in the Act
  • limits are a stake of £5 per person, per game (not per hand)
  • aggregate stakes for poker is £100 per day for each premise
  • there are no limits on stakes for dominoes and cribbage
  • no amount can be deducted from amounts staked or won
  • no participation fees can be charged
  • the games must be played on one premises (for example; no linked games between premises)
  • children and young people are excluded from participation.

If the above conditions are not met, a licence is required under the Gambling Act. Please see our gambling and gaming pages for more information or to find out how to apply for a licence.

Premises that are licensed to sell or supply alcohol for consumption on the premises are entitled to have up to two gaming machines (Category C or Category D) on the premises without applying for a permit or licence. 

If you currently hold a Premises Licence and would like to provide gaming machines (subject to the correct category) you are required to notify our Licensing Team and pay a notification fee. You'll need to apply for a Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permit if you wish to have more than two gaming machines. Please contact us for details.

Interim authority notice (IAN)

A notice can be given where a licence has lapsed due to the death, incapacity or insolvency of a Premises Licence holder and no application has been made to transfer the licence. In order to apply for an IAN please contact us.

When an IAN is granted, business can continue as normal until the licence is transferred. You must contact us within 28 days from the day the licence lapsed and the person giving notice must have a prescribed interest in the premises, such as a leaseholder, or be connected to the previous licence holder. 

    Places of worship

    Places of worship, such as churches, are not required to have a Premises Licence for activities that would be otherwise classified as regulated entertainment, for example; organ recital.

    However, if alcohol is being sold you will require a Premises Licence but will be exempt from the fee. For a one off event you can also apply for a Temporary Event Notice.