Lancashire operations continue fight against illegal machine supply

Press release

Date: 10 September 2009

A 27 year-old man from Bacup, Lancashire, has received a criminal caution for illegally supplying gaming machines to an alcohol licensed premises.

The caution resulted from a multi-agency operation to ensure that those providing gaming machines in the area are properly licensed. The operation involved officers from the Gambling Commission (the Commission), Lancashire Police and Rossendale Borough Council.

In a similar joint operation with officers from Blackpool Council, a number of hotels and guest houses in Blackpool were found to be operating gaming machines without the appropriate permissions. The premises owners have been told to act immediately in order to avoid further action from the council and the Commission is conducting further enquiries about the supply of these machines.

The Gambling Commission’s Regional Compliance Manager for the North-West, David Thornton, said:  

“Businesses supplying or making gaming machines available for use without a licence risk action from the Commission or its local enforcement partners.

“Both operations unearthed intelligence about the original source of the machines and we will follow that up.”

The Commission has conducted more than 20 joint operations with local authorities since it launched a nationwide drive targeting illegal suppliers of gaming machines last September. As part of the work, 294 visits to raise awareness or obtain information from operators were made in the six months from September last year to March 2009. 

Last month the Commission announced that it considered licensed manufacturers and wholesalers selling used and recycled gaming machines to be a major source of machines in the illegal market.  The Commission will be conducting a review of the issue and may consider, for example, introducing a requirement to report the disposal or recycling of machines as a ‘key event’ or as part of a regulatory return.

Manufacturers and suppliers of gaming machines must be licensed by the Commission. Those with information regarding the illegal supply of gaming machines should contact the Commission on (0121) 230 6666.

Notes to editors

The Gambling Commission

  • 1. The Gambling Commission (the Commission) regulates gambling in the public interest. It does so by keeping crime out of gambling, by ensuring that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and by protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling. The Commission also provides independent advice to government on gambling in Britain.
  • 2. The Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating all gambling in Great Britain other than the National Lottery and spread betting, which are the responsibility of the National Lottery Commission and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) respectively.
  • 3. Full details of operating licence requirements can be found at: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/gamingmachines.
  • 4. These investigations concern the supply of illegal gaming machines and is part of a wider programme of compliance and enforcement activity. The Commission is based in Birmingham and has a nationwide team of over 50 compliance managers.
  • 5. Information on the Commission’s nationwide drive against the illegal supply of gaming machines can be found at: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/gh-media/latest_news/2008/nationwide_drive_targets_illeg.aspx .
  • 6. Premises with a qualifying on-premises alcohol licence are automatically entitled to two gaming machines of category C or D but this entitlement is subject to them notifying the local licensing authority and paying the prescribed fee. Such premises can also apply to the local licensing authority for a licensed premises gaming machine permit, which, if granted, would allow for further category C or D machines to be made available on their premises.

Further information

For further information please contact us on (0121) 230 6700 or email communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.