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Gambling in pubs and clubs

Under the Gambling Act 2005 it is an offence to provide facilities for gambling without the relevant operating licence and premises licence unless the activity is subject to an exception.

Part 12 of the Gambling Act 2005 provides that in pubs and clubs, certain gaming, including poker, is exempt, subject to strict stakes and prizes limitations or, in clubs if correct permissions are held (club gaming permit), then there can be unlimited stakes and prizes.

Gaming of the type usually provided in clubs and alcohol licensed premises is subject to lesser controls and a code of practice. These are designed to protect both the players and those providing the gaming facilities and ensure that, in general, gaming remains ancillary to the main purpose of the pub or club. While the principles are the same for both pubs and clubs there are different provisions for each sector.

See also:

Pubs and Other Alcohol Licensed Premises

Gaming Machine Permit/Notification

This information applies to pubs and other alcohol licensed premises. To provide Category C or D 'fruit machines' the following arrangements apply:

  • Up to two gaming machines - Pubs have an automatic entitlement to two gaming machines (Category C or D), subject to a simple notification procedure. Licence holders, and only the licence holder, serves a notification on the licensing authority.
  • More than two gaming machines - Pubs which want to offer more than two gaming machines. The Licence holder, and it must be the premises licence holder, applies to the licensing authority for a licensed premises gaming machine permit.

The automatic entitlement (notification) and licensed premises gaming machine permit will be of unlimited duration. Once granted the holder need not apply again unless circumstances change.

For the notification there is an initial charge but no annual fee and the notification lasts indefinitely but cannot be transferred. Holders of licensed premises gaming machine permits will be required to pay an annual fee to their licensing authority but a permit can be transferred.

Notification and Permit holders must comply with the Gambling Commission's code of practice for gaming machines in alcohol licensed premises which is available on the Gambling Commissions Website.

Automatic Entitlement for 2 machines or less - notification procedure

There is a simple notification procedure filling in the notification section of the permit application form effectively informing the licensing authority of the licence holder's intention to make one or two gaming machines (Category C or D) available in the pub, in accordance with the automatic entitlement. Further information about the notification procedure is available from the licensing unit.

It is important to note that the premises licence holder will need to submit the prescribed fee with the notification. Without this the automatic entitlement is forfeit. Licence holders offering gaming machines without a valid notification or permit do so illegally.

Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permit

A permit is needed if more than 2 machines are required. The Licence holder only can apply for a permit. The licensing authority will consider the application on its merits.

Licence holders will still be able to exercise their automatic entitlement to two machines, even if the licensing authority refuses an application for a permit in respect of three or more machines.

Pubs and Other Alcohol Licensed Premises - Gaming Machine Permit/Notification Form

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