Darts – what are the rules for pubs?

By Alex Tomlinson, solicitor at Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Hitting the target: darts is enjoying a boost in popularity and Alex Tomlinson (right) has advice for pubs (credit: Getty/Jovan Doncic)
Hitting the target: darts is enjoying a boost in popularity and Alex Tomlinson (right) has advice for pubs (credit: Getty/Jovan Doncic)

Related tags Sport Licensing Legislation Darts

This week, we saw 16-year-old Luke Littler compete in the PDC World Darts Championship final before losing 7-4 to Luke Humphries.

Though Littler didn’t win, he certainly captured the nation’s interests with a huge majority backing him. However, what’s interesting for publicans is the rise in general interest in darts.

Though darts is hugely popular with loyal fans, it’s not a sport that tends to attract new viewers. However, the rise in media coverage of Littler’s impressive winning streak has piqued the interest of the general public.

This means there’s a huge opportunity for publicans to draw some much-needed additional footfall in January by jumping on the bandwagon and dusting off the dartboard.

How to proceed

By promoting the use of a dartboard in their venue, licensees could welcome new and existing customers who want to try their hand at a game while enjoying the pub environment.

While it’s a great way to incentivise attendance, licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen is advising on how publicans should proceed.

Alex Tomlinson, solicitor at Poppleston Allen, said: “The playing of darts itself is not a licensable activity requiring a premises licence. However, if you are to have an audience watching a darts tournament or league game in the pub and the audience is being ‘entertained’ by the tournament this, technically, would be licensable.”

Deregulatory measures

He continued: “Luckily, in June 2013, the Government brought in a range of deregulatory measures, one of which related to the playing of indoor sports. As a result, any indoor sporting event played between 8am and 11pm with an audience of up to a maximum of 1,000 people is simply not licensable and therefore does not need any explicit authorisation stated on the licence.

“Clearly, if the tournament does go beyond 11pm or in the unlikely event more than 1,000 people are watching then you will need authorisation.

“Please do remember if there are no spectators and only the people participating themselves are watching this is not licensable whether or not it is before 8am or after 11pm.”

Related topics Licensing law

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