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What to do if gaming machines appear to be illegally sited

If the premises does not have authorisation to site gaming machines you should:

  • advise the premises owner/occupier that they are committing an offence under the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab) (sections 37 and 242) and are liable to a maximum penalty of imprisonment
  • ask the premises owner/occupier to remove the gaming machine(s) from the premises. As the gaming machine(s) may be reliant on an authorisation granted by the licensing authority – for example an alcohol licence, a gambling premises licence or a club permit – other parts of their business could be put in jeopardy if they do not comply. They might, for example, lose their alcohol licence
  • inform the police as they may be interested in potential instances of local illegality and may also be able to assist (a constable has the power of an enforcement officer under the Gambling Act 2005)
  • contact Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (opens in new tab) (HMRC) as experience shows there is the possibility that the relevant duties/taxes applicable to gaming machines may not have been paid. HMRC also has powers under separate legislation to collect monies due and stop illegal machine usage
  • inform the Gambling Commission.

Under Section 317 of the Gambling Act 2005 an authorised person may ‘remove and retain anything if he reasonably believes that it is being used or has been used in the commission of an offence under this Act’.

This power has been used by a licensing authority to seize suspected illegal machines. You may wish to obtain advice as to the agreed regulatory processes within your licensing authority.

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Skill with prizes (SWP) machines
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Seizing an illegally sited machine
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