The recent decision by the Gambling Commission’s Regulatory Panel to revoke the Operating Licence of Maxtent Limited is a salutary reminder to all Operators that they should seek the Commission’s approval when making any restructure to the ownership of their business.

In the recent case, which is being appealed, the Commission reported that it  was not satisfied that it would have granted the Operating Licence to the licensee had the incoming  party been a controller of the company when the application for the operating licence was originally made. In particular, the Commission said it was not satisfied about the source of funds used to acquire and support the Company at the time of, and following, the change of corporate control. The Commission also identified concerns relating to the new controller’s suitability, in that it appeared that he had provided conflicting information and had failed to be full and frank in his dealings with the Commission.

The Gambling Commission requires all Operators to submit a Change of Corporate Control application when its shareholding changes.  This will always be necessary when an Operator business is sold or where some of the shares in a company are transferred to either an existing shareholder or a new shareholder.  Frequently this may arise where parents transfer some or all of their shares in an Operator Company to their children in preparation for retirement or on the death of a family member where shares are left to the next generation in a will.  There are also occasions where Directors of a Company may decide, on advice from its accountant to transfer the shares in the Operator Company to a holding company for tax purposes.  All of these circumstances will trigger the requirement for an application and if the Commission is not satisfied with an incoming controller it could ultimately revoke the Operating Licence.

A Change of Corporate Control application can take up to 12 weeks to process but it is  possible to submit an application before a transfer of shares takes place rather than after the event.  This is always recommended where possible with the advantage of getting prior approval of the Commission for any change in ownership.  Furthermore if there are any issues that the Commission require resolving, there is more time to deal with it.

At Hough & Bollard we regularly advise Clients in such circumstances and would be happy to assist anyone who finds themselves in such a situation.  For further details call 01526341162 or email

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Darren Wyld & Sean Tee

“We have used Debbie Hough Bollard on numerous occasions as she is very knowledgeable of the gaming industry. We have also recommended her services as a consultant to other operators as we are very confident of her professionalism and communications and know from experience that she will put 100% into every job.”

Premier Gaming Limited

Jonathon Crystal

"Obtaining my operator's licence was made so much easier with Debbie's expertise and guidance. I found I received a very swift, professional and friendly service for a very fair and realistic fee. I would highly recommend Debbie"

BMJ Supplies LTD

Sofia Baguely

"Debbie gave me advice on alcohol licensing, and she was very prompt with her reply and very professional and helpful. I would highly recommend Debbie, and she left an excellent impression on me with her approachable yet very professional attitude. Thanks again, Debbie!!"

Sofia's Columbian Kitchen

Steve Ledger

"I would not hesitate to use your services again in the future and would, and I will highly recommend your services to my business colleagues."

Finance Director Retail Associates Limited

Richard Monk

"One of the only specialists in this complex field giving advice you can depend on"

Aztec Coin Equipment Ltd

Viren Nathwani

Debbie has assisted us over the last year in varied employment-related issues. She has a great knowledge of employment law which has enabled us to take the necessary actions as and when they fell due. She responds quickly to any queries as sometimes, time has been important in making the right decisions.

BPC Electronics Ltd

Aman Goraya

What you get with Debbie is a Licensing Consultant who has your back, she will fight tooth and nail for what she believes is right and is as excited as you are when you reach the goal you both set out to do. Debbie takes every case personally and cares about her clients, I cannot recommend Debbie highly enough as an expert in Gambling/Gaming Legislation

Director Pure Gaming Limited

Christina Casey

 “We instructed Debbie Hough Bollard to liaise with our two Licencing authorities and the Gambling Commission when we restructured our company. Debbie dealt with all the paperwork and issues that came about quickly and efficiently and she made the whole process very easy for me. I would highly recommend her for any HR and licencing issues that you may have”.

Lordsdale Group

Joseph Lyons Mound

“Lyons Holiday Parks has grown substantially over the last ten years to become one of the largest family-owned caravan park operators in North Wales.  Throughout this period Debbie, with her expertise and utmost professionalism has supported the company in handling all dealings with the Gambling Commission”. 

Director Lyons Holiday Parks

Viren Nathwani

"Debbie has assisted us over the last few years in ensuring we comply with all the gambling licensing requirements as and when they have arisen. She is very approachable and her knowledge and understanding of the requirements are excellent."

Mediatheme Ltd


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