Gambling Act 2005

The Gambling Act 2005 provides a system of licensing and regulation for commercial gambling, and gives us extended responsibilities for licensing premises for gambling.

The Act sets out three gambling objectives that we have a duty to promote. These are:

  1. Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime and disorder or being used to support crime
  2. Ensuring gambling is conducted in a fair and open away
  3. Protecting children and other vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

Under the Act, we are responsible for dealing with the following types of applications:

Premises Licences

Considering applications for premises licences is the main business of the licensing authority in terms of local gambling regulation. Where an individual or company uses premises, or causes or permits premises to be used to offer gambling, a premises licence is required.

Premises licences are issued by the licensing authority with responsibility for the area in which the premises are situated.

In accordance with Section 150 of the Act, premises that can be licensed for gambling include:

  • Casino Premises
  • Bingo Premises
  • Betting Premises (including tracks)
  • adult gaming centres (AGCs)
  • family entertainment centres (FECs).

By distinguishing between premises types, the Act makes it clear that the gambling activity of the premises should be linked to the premises described. Thus, in a bingo premises, the gambling activity should be bingo, with gaming machines as an ancillary offer on the premises.

Club Gaming Permits and Club Machine Permits

There are two types of club permit available: 

Club gaming permits allow the provision of no more than three gaming machines in total. Each of the three machines must be from categories B3A, B4, C or D but only one B3A machine can be sited, by agreement, as part of this entitlement. Club gaming permits also allow equal-chance gaming (for example, poker) and games of chance (for example, pontoon, chemin-de-fer) under certain restrictions.

Club machine permits allow the holder to have no more than three gaming machines in total. Members' clubs and miners' welfare institutes may site up to three machines from categories B3A, B4, C or D but only one B3A machine can be sited, by agreement, as part of this entitlement. Commercial clubs may site up to three machines from categories B4, C or D (not B3A machines). 

We aim to determine applications within 21 days from receipt of a completed application, including payment.

Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centres Gaming Machine Permits

Family entertainment centres (FECs) are most commonly found at seaside resorts, in airports, and at motorway service centres. FECs cater for families, including unaccompanied children and young people.

Unlicensed FECs are able to offer category D machines if they obtain a gaming machine permit from their local licensing authority.  Any number of category D machines can be made available with such a permit (subject to non-gambling considerations, such as fire regulations and health and safety).

Gaming Machines in Alcohol Licensed Premises

Pubs and other alcohol licensed premises are automatically entitled to two category C or D gaming machines upon notification to the licensing authority of their intention to make gaming machines available for use.

Licensing authorities can issue gaming machine permits which allow additional category C and D gaming machines to be provided.

Where a gaming machine permit authorises the making available of a specified number of gaming machines in particular premises, this will effectively replace, and not be in addition to, any automatic entitlement to two machines.

We aim to determine applications within 21 days from receipt of a completed application, including payment. 

In some circumstances an application for a licensed premises gaming machine permit may not be determined within the above timescale, as the application will may need to be referred to the Council's Licensing Sub-Committee for determination.

Small Society Lotteries

Society lotteries are lotteries promoted for the benefit of a non-commercial society.  A society is non-commercial if it is established and conducted:

  • for charitable purposes
  • for the purpose of enabling participation in, or of supporting, sport, athletics or a cultural activity
  • for any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain.

Small society lotteries must be registered with the local authority in the area where the principal office of the society is located.  

We aim to determine applications within 21 days from receipt of a completed application, including payment.

Prize Gaming Permits

Prize gaming is gaming where the nature and size of the prize available is not determined by either:

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

Prize gaming permits can be issued by licensing authorities, to those who would like to run prize gaming from a premises they occupy, or plan to occupy, if the premises does not already have an existing premises licence or a club gaming permit.

  • Please contact us if you require an application form to apply for a prize gaming permit.

Temporary Use Notices

It is an offence to provide facilities for gambling unless the required permissions are in place, or an exemption applies. One such exemption is for the holder of an operating licence to send a temporary use notice (TUN) to the relevant licensing authority. This is not a permanent arrangement, but allows premises such as hotels, conference centres or sporting venues to be used temporarily for providing facilities for gambling.  A TUN may also apply to a vessel, whether moored or moving. TUNs are often, but not exclusively, used to run poker tournaments. 

  • Please contact us if you require an application form to apply for a temporary use notice.

Occasional Use Notices

Section 39 of the Act provides that where there is betting on a track on 8 days or fewer in a calendar year, betting may be permitted by an occasional use notice (OUN) without the need for a full premises licence. The intention behind OUNs is to permit licensed betting operators with appropriate permission from the Commission, to use tracks for short periods for conducting betting, where the event upon which the betting is to take place is of a temporary, infrequent nature (the OUN dispenses with the need for a betting premises licence for the track in these circumstances). An OUN must be served by a person who is responsible for the administration of events on the track or by an occupier of the track.

  • Please contact us if you require an application form to apply for an occasional use notice.

Fees and Charges

Our fees and charges page lists our current fees.

Gambling Commission

We are also responsible for providing information to the Gambling Commission in respect of the above applications, and maintaining a register of the authorisations we issue.

The Gambling Commission website contains useful information in relation to gambling activities, and making applications.

Please contact us if you would like to know if a premises is authorised to carry out gambling activities.

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