FRESH powers to deal with gambling will shift to the borough council next year under a new law designed to simplify the licensing process.
From September 1, 2007 the council will take over responsibility from the magistrates court for issuing premises licences to bingo halls, dog tracks and bookmakers.
The Gambling Commission will issue operating and personal licences and the council will continue to grant permits for fruit machines in pubs and social clubs.
Councillors with the benefit of local knowledge will decide on contested applications.
The change in law, laid out in the Gambling Act 2005, was designed to make the process of authorising gambling easier, transparent and more accountable.
The rules over details of fees and various application forms are due to be outlined next year.
Details of the changes are contained in a Statement of Principles issued by the council after a lengthy public consultation.
Copies of the policy will be sent out to businesses in the borough where gambling takes place, and can be viewed on the council's website at www.epnbc.gov.uk.