Race nights

'Race nights' are events in which participants stake money on the outcome of recorded or virtual races, where the selection is totally dependent on chance, and where no 'odds' or 'form' are available to assist the selection.

As a general principle, 'race nights' may only take place at events where none of the proceeds from the event itself are used for private gain, and all participants must be told what 'good cause' is to benefit from the profits from the gaming. No licence, permit or other form of permission is required to operate this kind of gaming provided that the statutory conditions of the Gambling Act 2005 are complied with.

If the prizes are put up in advance, and are not dependent on the number of players taking part or the amount of money staked then the gaming will be covered by Section 299 of the Act. There are, however, no statutory limits on stakes, prizes, participation fees or other charges for this type of non-commercial gaming, which may be an incidental activity or the only or principal purpose of the event

Where the prizes awarded are dependent on the number of players taking part, or on the amount of money staked on a race, the non-commercial equal chance gaming provisions in section 300 of the Act apply.

The gaming may be either an incidental activity or the only or principal purpose of the event, provided that none of the proceeds are used for private gain. However, for this type of gaming there are limits on the amounts that players may be charged to take part, and on the amount or value of the prizes. The maximum amount that a player may be charged is £8 per day (and this includes entrance or participation fees, stakes and any other payments in relation to the gaming). The total amount paid out in prizes may not exceed £600, although where an event is the final one of a series in which all of the players have previously taken part, a higher prize fund of up to £900 is permitted.

More detailed information regarding 'Race Nights' and the law is available from the websites below:

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Page last updated: 27 August 2021

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