Skip to main content

How do I apply for an operating licence?

Once you have decided which type of licence you need for your business you can apply online. An application fee is payable.

Read the guidance below before you start your application.

Apply for an operating licence online 

Operating licence applications take around 16 weeks to process, providing full information is submitted. 

If you want a representative to apply on your behalf, your lawyer for example, they will need complete the whole application as the registration and application password will only be sent to the email provided by the person who has registered

If you are a retailer who wants to apply for a National Lottery terminal visit 

What will I need to complete my application? 

Before you make an application for an operating licence, you should make sure that you have the following documents to submit with your applications. If one or more of these documents are not submitted, the application could be deemed to be incomplete and may lead to your application being delayed or rejected.

  • A complete company structure (where applicable) showing all shareholder with 3% or more equity
  • Details of all persons involved in the application, Please note that personal Management Licence (PML) applications or Annex A Personal Declarations should also be submitted. Where PMLs or Annex A’s are required a criminal records check (or police extract for overseas applicants) will be required
  • Details of how the business will be funded – and any evidence to support the funding, such as loan agreements
  • Three years of projections with supporting assumptions
  • Three years of audited accounts (where the business is already operational)
  • A business plan
  • Policies and procedures, this should include but is not limited to, social responsibility policies, anti-money laundering and proceeds of crime policies, you should check the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice to see which policies you may require from the activity that you plan to offer.

You can scan and upload certified copies or send us the originals. 

If any information is missing, this will delay your application or could result in your application being rejected. We will send you a confirmation letter containing your account number within seven working days. 

Do I get a discount if I apply for more than one type of licence?

If you apply for a combination of different types of licences (except for ancillary remote licences or linked licences), you will get a discount.

But if you are applying for more than one type of licence, you must apply as the same legal entity to qualify for the discount.

Use our fees calculator to work out your total application fee. 

Once you have submitted your application we will publish that you have applied on our operating licence register. 

Criminal record checks 

When you receive your DBS disclosure certificate, you must send it to us as soon as possible. Any delay in sending the certificate will delay your application. 

We will not accept copies or certified copies so you must send the original certificate, which we will return to you by recorded delivery.

Alternatively, in some circumstances you can avoid having to post the DBS disclosure certificate to us by joining the DBS Update Service. 

If you have a criminal record 

Creating a test application 

If you want to better understand how the application process works and what is required before submitting a genuine application, you can create a test run. 

To avoid confusion give your test run an applicant name of ‘TEST and your name’

When you get to the end of the application make sure you do not submit the application 

When you are ready to submit a real application, start a fresh application and delete the ‘test run’. 

How do I submit documents if I can’t upload them online? 

Original documents posted to us will be returned by recorded or special delivery and will need to be signed for upon receipt. 

Post to the address below quoting your name and the unique application reference ID given to you during the online application.

Licensing submissions
Gambling Commission
Victoria Square House
Victoria Square
B2 4BP 

How will we assess your application? 

When we assess your application we consider whether your business will uphold the licensing objectives and if you are suitable to carry out the activities your licence will allow.

When considering suitability we want to see evidence to support and enable an assessment for:

  • Identity and ownership – your identity and the identity of other people relevant to the application, for example, the person who ultimately owns a corporation of which your business is a part.
  • Finances financial and other circumstances, past and present, and those of people relevant to the application. Including the resources likely to be available to carry out the licensed activities. 
  • Integrity – your honesty and trustworthiness and that of people relevant to the application.
  • Competence your experience, expertise, qualifications and history and that of people relevant to the application.
  • Criminality – your criminal record and that of people relevant to the application. 

We will look at your policies for ensuring that the licensing objectives will be adhered to, an understanding of the legislation overall and evidence that your arrangements will meet social responsibility requirements. 

Our approach to licensing is set out in our Licensing, compliance and enforcement policy statement , Statement of principles for licensing and regulation and Licensing decisions - Procedures and guidance for the licensing hearings.

There is no requirement that an applicant be incorporated in a particular country or jurisdiction. However, the important thing to note is the requirement in section 69 of the Gambling Act 2005 that you must provide an address in the UK at which a document under the Act may be served.

So if your head office and registered office addresses are overseas, you will have to provide a correspondence address that is in the UK.

That address must be a genuine address at which papers can be served that will reach you in good time. The address cannot be a PO Box and needs to be somewhere where you, for example, have a consistent staff presence or it could be the address of an official representative such as an accountant, solicitor or auditor. Such a correspondence address in the UK must be maintained for the life of the licence, if granted.

What do I do when I get my licence? 

Keep your licence in a safe place. You need to be able to produce your licence on demand within a specified period, if a constable or enforcement officer asks to see it. 

Your licence will last indefinitely unless:

  • it is revoked
  • it is suspended
  • you choose to surrender it
  • it lapses, for example due to bankruptcy or death
  • it is forfeit, for example if a court orders it when you are convicted of a relevant offence. 

How do I get a copy of my licence?

If you need a copy of your licence login to eServices and download a copy from your homepage.

When is my annual fee due?

Your annual fee is due 30 days after we have issued your licence, and every year after that. 

You have rejected my application, what can I do?

If we reject your application, we will let you know the reasons why and the steps you can take to appeal if you are unhappy with our decision. If we have given you a final decision and you are not satisfied with it, you can appeal to the HM Courts & Tribunals Service, which is an independent body.