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Keeping gambling Fair and safe for all

Skill with prizes machines (SWPs)

The Gambling Commission is frequently asked whether a particular prize machine is, or is not, a gaming machine. Most commonly, the question is asked in respect of a machine marketed as an SWP. The answer to that question depends upon whether any of the games offered on the machine amount to ‘gaming’ as defined in section 6 of the Gambling Act.

The interpretation of the Gambling Act is, of course, ultimately a matter for the courts. Nevertheless, we hope that our advice note Is a prize machine a gaming machine (July 2010), revised slightly in light of the SWP and taxation review, will be helpful to manufacturers and suppliers of machines, and those who make machines available for use, as it sets out how we approach the question of whether a game falls within the scope of section 6 of the Gambling Act. This note should be read in conjunction with the characteristics published by HMRC on 30 July 2010. The characteristics set out in more detail what features SWPs should or shouldn’t have, to help answer the questions set out in this document.

We also issued a joint statement with HMRC in December 2009, which set out our views in respect of games presented as recognised games of chance. This is reflected in the notes and characteristics referred to above.

Page last updated: April 2013