LICENSEES could start to push the boundaries of entertainment on offer in their premises in order to gain a 1am licence.
This was the claim made last week during a meeting of Wigtown Licensing Board to determine what is classed as entertainment, as pubs in Newton Stewart with bands, discos and events on offer can apply for license extension from midnight to 1am.
But councillor Sandra McDowall voiced her concerns that some pubs will try to offer basics to constitute entertainment in order to trade for that extra hour.
She said: “I worry that some premises are going to try very hard to put on events of a high quality and others will do the bare minimum just to obtain a 1am licence.”
This came about following an explanation of a new type of internet-connected juke box, which not only plays music but can host games, quiz and race nights.
The board heard from licensing officers who had visited premises housing these new machines that they cost a lot of money each month to rent but can offer a host of entertainment programmes.
Chair Iain Dick said that these machines were the future of pub entertainment and should therefore soon be considered as commonplace and legislated accordingly.
Councillor Graham Nicol asked: “How can we ensure that these are used for, say, a race night only and not then just used for music after midnight? They would have had an extended licence to cover them for the race night as it would have been an event, but music is not.”
The board agreed there would need to be some sort of monitoring of the machines when used for a 1am licence, and agreed to defer implementing the policy until exact wording could be agreed at the next meeting and also agreed that such events should be advertised at least seven days in advance.
A discussion was also held about whether poker counts as an event when held in a pub, and whether tournaments could warrant a 1am extension.
Inspector Stuart Davidson said the poker nights are not an issue for the police as they are self-running and organised, but agreed they should be advertised in advance.
Final decisions are due to be taken at the next meeting on 7 February.