Section 353 of the Gambling Act defines a track as a horse racecourse, greyhound track or other premises on any part of which a race or other sporting event takes place or is intended to take place.

The Act does not give a list of premises that are officially recognised as ‘tracks’ but there are a number of venues where sporting events do or could take place, and accordingly could accommodate the provision of betting facilities. Examples of tracks include:

  • a horse racecourse (referred as ‘racecourses’)
  • a greyhound track
  • a point-to-point horserace meeting
  • football, cricket and rugby grounds
  • an athletics stadium
  • a golf course
  • venues hosting darts, bowls, or snooker tournaments
  • a premises staging boxing matches
  • a section of river hosting a fishing competition
  • a motor racing event.

This list is by no means exhaustive, as, in theory, betting could take place at any venue where a sporting or competitive event is occurring. While many of these venues are not commonly understood to be ‘tracks’, they fall within the definition of ‘track’ defined by the Act. Licensing authorities may be of the view that they have few tracks in their administrative area, but the very nature of the Act’s definition indicates that most localities are likely to have venues that could be classified as a track for betting purposes.

The Act also provides for tracks which do not currently offer betting facilities, but may elect to do so at some stage in the future. This means that land which has a number of uses, one of which fulfils the definition of a track, could qualify for a premises licence. Examples could include agricultural land upon which a point-to-point meeting takes place or a theatre, arena or exhibition centre where sporting events such as darts or snooker competitions are held. Under the Act, these may all be classified as tracks.  

The Act does not define what constitutes a sporting event or race and the Commission leaves this to licensing authorities to decide on a case by case basis.

If an individual or company wants to offer betting facilities on a sporting event then different forms of ‘approval’ are available, one of which must be obtained if betting is to be provided, irrespective of whether the betting is generally incidental to the main sporting activity. The different types of approval for the provision of betting facilities at premises are:

  • a premises licence
  • an occasional use notice.