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Keeping gambling Fair and safe for all

Do I need a licence - betting?

There are three types of licence that betting business owners may need to apply for:

Your business may need all three kinds.

The Gambling Commission issues operating licences and personal licences; premises licences are issued by local licensing authorities.

Those wishing to provide facilities for betting on tracks (on-course bookmakers), are required by the Administration of Gambling on Tracks Ltd(AGT)  to hold public liability insurance and a valid Horserace Betting Levy Board certificate. For more information, about these requirements you should contact AGT directly.

Do I need an operating licence?

In most circumstances, you do need an operating licence. You need an operating licence from us if you are providing betting services, for example betting shops, on-course betting, betting websites and telephone services, betting intermediaries such as betting exchanges, pool betting and trading rooms. Find out which type of operating licence you need, and how to apply.

From 1 November 2014, if you are providing facilities for remote gambling, or advertising to consumers in Britain, you will need a licence from the Gambling Commission.

You do not need an operating licence from us for helping people make bets if:

  • two or more people who live in the same house are betting against each other
  • people who work for, and have a contract with the same employer, bet against each other.


If you want to run a race night, which is an event where participants stake money on the outcome of recorded or virtual races to raise money for a charity or other good cause, you can do so as long as you tell the players what the event is for and who you are raising money for, and you give all the money raised at the event to the good cause.

This includes any entrance fees, sponsorship, fees for traders’ stalls and other fees, although you can deduct any costs reasonably incurred from organising the event, including the cost of prizes.

Players must not make more than one payment (whether as an admission or participation fee, stake or other charge, or a combination of those charges), and this payment must not exceed £8. The total amount or value of prizes for all the games played at your event must not exceed £600.

Do I need a personal licence?

If you do need an operating licence, you may also need a personal management licence(PML) unless you qualify as a small-scale operator.

Anyone who is responsible for any of these areas of your organisation will need to apply for a PML:

  • Overall strategy and delivery of gambling operations.
  • Financial planning, control and budgeting.
  • Marketing and commercial development.
  • Regulatory compliance.
  • Gambling related IT provision and security.
  • Management of the licensed activity for a particular area in Great Britain where you have five or more sets of premises for which you hold a premises licence.

Individuals who perform more than one of these management functions at the same time only need to hold one PML. Apply for a personal management licence.

Do I need a premises licence?

Betting shops, trading rooms and tracks need a premises licence or permit from the local licensing authority.

Find out more about applying for a premises licence, or contact your local licensing authority.


Page last reviewed: March 2015