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Gaming Machines

To operate a gaming machine at a premise you may require a licence, permit or give notice to the Licensing Authority.

Permits are issued to premises that offer very low-stakes and prize gambling or premises whose primary function is not the provision of gambling facilities. Premises eligible to apply to licensing authorities for permits are:

  • Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centres
  • Alcohol Licensed Premises (issued with licences under the Licensing Act 2003)
  • Clubs (commercial and non-commercial)
  • Premises offering commercial prize gambling

Applying for a licence

  • Complete the appropriate application form available in Downloads
  • Attach any supporting documents as required
  • Attach the application fee
Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centres

A premises mainly used for people to play on gaming machines, such as small arcades in holiday parks, theme parks and seaside resorts are required to hold a Family Entertainment Centre gaming machine permit.

Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centres provide category D machines for use by families and unaccompanied children.

These permits will be in effect for 10 years and will need to be renewed, with no annual fee to be paid.

If the operator of a Family Entertainment Centre wants to make Category C machines available, in addition to category D machines, then they need to apply for an Operating Licence from the Gambling Commission and then a Premises Licence from us.

Alcohol Licensed Premises

This applies to premises with a Licensing Act 2003 licence to sell alcohol on the premises. There is no limit on the number of machines, but applicants must specify the number they are applying for.

Permits do not expire unless the holder of the Licensing Act 2003 Premises Licence changes.

Two machines or fewer:

An alcohol licensed premises has an automatic entitlement of up to two category C or D machines without requiring a permit. Any premises wishing to take up this entitlement must complete an Application for Gaming Machine Notification and Permits in Licenced Premises form.

Three or more machines:

In the case of licensed premises wanting to install more than two category C or D machines, the person or organisation holding the licence must apply for an Alcohol Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permit.

If this permit is granted it will replace, and not be an addition to, the automatic entitlement of up to two machines.

Premises offering commercial prize gambling

Prize gaming is a low stake, prize gambling where the size of the prize on offer is not determined by:

  • The number of people playing
  • The amount paid for or raised by the gaming

The prize can be a cash or non-cash prize.

Holders of a premises licence under the Gambling Act and holders of club gaming permits may not apply for prize gaming permits. Prize gaming permits do not grant the use of gaming machines.

The permit will be in effect for 10 years. There is no annual fee to be paid.

Various forms of prize gaming are permitted as part of many of the other permits and premises licences issued under the Gambling Act 2005. The following premises are authorised by the Act to offer prize gaming, subject to certain conditions, and do not require a separate Prize Gaming Permit:

  • Holders of Adult Gaming Centre Premises Licences
  • Holders of Family Entertainment Centre Premises Licences
  • Holders of Family Entertainment Centre Gaming Machine Permits
  • Travelling Fairs
  • Bingo Halls
Clubs (commercial and non-commercial)

For holders of Club Premises Certificates under the Licensing Act 2003 and anyone considering setting up a club who wish to offer gaming or gaming machines to members of that club.

There are two kinds of club permit that can be issued under the Gambling Act 2005:

Club Gaming Permit

Club gaming permits may be granted to members’ clubs and miners’ welfare institutes (but not commercial clubs), to authorise the use of up to three category B3A, B4, C or D gaming machines (three machines in total), as well as equal chance gaming and games of chance as prescribed in the regulations.

The permit will have effect for 10 years and maybe renewed, with an annual fee of £50.

Club Machine Permit

A Club Machine Permit is for clubs who do not wish to have a Club Gaming Permit but only wish to provide the use of up to three Category B4 C or D gaming machines. Commercial clubs who are not permitted to provide non-machine gaming may also apply for a Club Machine Permit. This permit authorises the use of up to three category B4, C or D gaming machines (three machines in total).

The permit will have effect for 10 years and may then be renewed. There is an annual fee of £50.

Holders of Club Gaming Permits or Club Machine Permits should have regard to the Code of Practice issued by the Gambling Commission. The Code of Practice makes reference to conditions for the location and operation of machines and also best practice for self-exclusion and for access to gambling by children and young persons.

Last updated 15 March 2024
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