Everyday law – having a flutter on the Grand National?

This article is part of our Everyday law series where we look at examples of how law affects us as we go about our daily lives.

Having a flutter on the horses? The Grand National coming up this weekend will give high street bookmakers one of their busiest weeks of the year.

How does this involve the law? All premises that are used for betting need to be licensed by their local council under the Gambling Act 2005. It’s just one of the licensing obligations carried out by local councils. Others include licensing premises for the sale of alcohol, tattoo parlours, caravan parks, sports grounds of over 10,000 capacity (including racecourses), wedding licence venues, cinemas and scrap metal dealers. The legislation governing each of these areas is different and forms a huge body of civil law that has been enacted and updated by Parliament over decades.

Civil law is concerned with the private affairs of citizens (getting married, getting a tattoo, selling scrap metal). Criminal law relates to offences which are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service rather than by the person suffering harm.

There are aspects of gambling that can also be criminal, for example race or match fixing is treated as theft under criminal law.

If you are interested in law, have a look at our information on job roles in the legal sector, including working in the legal department of your local council, that you can apply for before you start any legal training.

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