Guide A guide to the Licensing Act 2003 GN1

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2. Regulated entertainment

What is regulated entertainment?

The following kinds of entertainment are subject to regulation:

  1. Plays
  2. Film exhibitions
  3. Indoor sporting events
  4. Boxing or wrestling exhibitions
  5. Live music (karaoke included)
  6. Recorded music
  7. Dancing by the public or performers
  8. Any entertainment similar to that described in 5, 6 or 7 above.

But only where:

  • The entertainment is provided in front of an audience or spectators and is for the purpose of entertaining those persons and
  • The entertainment is:
    • To any extent to members of the public or
    • Exclusively to members of a qualifying club and their guests or
    • For consideration and with a view to profit. The charge must be made by or on behalf of the organisers or management of the entertainment or the premises, and must be paid for by or on behalf of some or all of the persons for whom the entertainment or facility is provided. This would include, for example, letting out a room in your premises for people to use for wedding receptions.

What about music in small premises?

A premises licence for regulated entertainment is required in premises with a maximum capacity of less than 200 persons, and where the sale alcohol is the main activity. However, any conditions on your licence relating to the following licensing objectives:

  • Prevention of public nuisance, and
  • The protection of children from harm

will be automatically suspended. These conditions can be applied to a licence if we carry out a formal review of the licence.

However, conditions related to the above two licensing objectives, can be imposed on a licence as a result of something you have put in your operating schedule.

Are there any exemptions for unamplified music?

A premises licence is still required for regulated entertainment involving unamplified music. In premises that:

  • Are licensed for the sale of alcohol and provision of entertainment, and
  • Have a maximum capacity of less than 200 persons, and
  • Provide unamplified music between 8pm and 12midnight, and
  • Have no other forms of entertainment on the premises all conditions on the licence are suspended. As with small premises:
  • Conditions can be applied to a licence if we carry out a formal review of the licence
  • Conditions can be imposed on a licence as a result of something you have put in your operating schedule

When do I not require a licence for regulated entertainment?

  • Films which are solely or mainly to demonstrate a product, advertise goods or services, or provide information, education or instruction
  • Films as part of an exhibition in a museum or gallery
  • TV and radio broadcasts, providing they are shown live and not recorded
  • Religious meetings or services
  • Entertainment in places of public religious worship
  • Garden fêtes (unless held for private gain)
  • Entertainment provided in a moving vehicle
  • Morris dancing
  • Incidental entertainment

What does incidental entertainment mean?

Consent for regulated entertainment is not needed when the entertainment is provided for background entertainment. This is sometimes a difficult area and if you are unsure you should contact us for advice. Examples of incidental entertainment are:

  • a supermarket playing background music (people go there to shop - the music is not an influencing factor)
  • music during keep fit classes (people are there to exercise)
  • salsa dance classes (people are there to learn to dance)
  • a pub jukebox playing in the background (people are there to drink, the music is not an influencing factor)

The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only. They are not a full and authoritative statement of the law and do not constitute professional or legal advice. Any statements on these pages do not replace, extend, amend or alter in any way the statutory provisions of the Licensing Act 2003 or any subordinate legislation made under it or statutory guidance issued in relation to it. We accept no responsibility for any errors, omissions or misleading statements on these pages, or any site to which these pages refer. In particular, it must be noted that, although we have made every effort to ensure that the information in these pages is correct, changes in the law and the nature of implementation mean that the information in these pages cannot be guaranteed as accurate.