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Part 27: Prize gaming and prize gaming permits

  1. Prize gaming
  2. Application for a prize gaming permits

Back To TopPrize gaming

27.1 S.288 defines gaming as prize gaming if the nature and size of the prize is not determined by the number of people playing or the amount paid for or raised by the gaming. Normally the prizes are determined by the operator before play commences.

Prize gaming permits

27.2 A prize gaming permit is a permit issued by the licensing authority to authorise the provision of facilities for gaming with prizes on specified premises.

Prize gaming without a prize gaming permit

27.3 A casino operating licence gives authority to provide all games of chance, except any form of bingo, which is excluded from the scope of the casino licence by s.68(3)(b). If a casino wishes to provide bingo generally, it would need to obtain a bingo operating licence, however, this is subject to the constraint that only one premises licence may be issued for any particular premises at any time (s.152) and so the premises would have to be distinct. Only casino premises licences for 2005 Act large casinos permit bingo to be offered within the casino premises (s.174). If a casino wishes to offer prize bingo, it could obtain a prize gaming permit, however, it is more likely that the casino will apply for an operating licence to cover all forms of bingo(subject to the constraint already mentioned).

27.4 S.291 enables any form of prize gaming to be provided in premises in reliance on their bingo operating licence. This provision allows bingo operators to provide prize gaming in respect of casino games as well as games of equal chance, which they would not otherwise be able to do under the conditions of their operating licence. In the case of bingo operators, the Commission or Secretary of State could impose conditions preventing specified games from being offered, although there are currently no plans to do so. Additionally, limits have been set on individual and aggregated stakes and prizes for prize gaming in bingo premises, the purpose of which is to ensure that such gaming is restricted to low stakes (SI No 2257/2007: The Gambling Act 2005 (Operating Licence Conditions) Regulations 2007 and SI No 774/2010: The Gambling Act 2005 (Operating Licence Conditions) (Amendment) Regulations 2010).

27.5 S.290 provides that any type of prize gaming may be provided in adult gaming centres (AGCs) and licensed family entertainment centres (FECs), and that unlicensed FECs may only offer equal chance prize gaming under the auspices of their gaming machine permit, without the need for a prize gaming permit.

27.6 S.292 provides that travelling fairs are also able to offer equal chance prize gaming without a permit, provided that, taken together, the facilities for gambling are an ancillary amusement at the fair.

27.7 Children and young persons may participate in equal chance prize gaming only.

27.8 S.293 sets out four conditions that permit holders, AGCs, FECs and travelling fairs must comply with to lawfully offer prize gaming. These are:

  • the limits on participation fees, as set out in regulations (SI No 1777/2007: The Gambling Act 2005 (Limits on Prize Gaming) Regulations 2007), must be complied with
  • all chances to participate in the gaming must be allocated on the premises on which the gaming is taking place and on one day; the game must be played and completed on the day the chances are allocated; and the result of the game must be made public in the premises on the day that it is played
  • the prize for which the game is played must not exceed the amount set out in regulations (if a money prize), or the prescribed value (if non-monetary prize)
  • participation in the gaming must not entitle the player to take part in any other gambling.

Back To TopApplication for a prize gaming permits

27.9 Schedule 14 sets out the application process and regulatory regime for prize gaming permits. In considering an application, the licensing authority shall have regard to this guidance and need not, but may wish, to have regard to the licensing objectives.

27.10 An application for a permit can only be made by a person who occupies or plans to occupy the relevant premises and if the applicant is an individual, he must be aged 18 or over. An application for a permit cannot be made if a premises licence or club gaming permit is in effect for the same premises. The application must be made to the licensing authority in whose area the premises are wholly or partly situated.

27.11 The authority must specify the form and manner in which the application should be made, and specify what information and documents (for example, insurance certificates, plans of building) they require to accompany the application. An application must specify the premises and the nature of the gaming for which the permit is sought.

27.12 In their statement of policy, licensing authorities should include a statement of principles that they propose to apply when exercising their functions in considering applications for permits. In particular, they may want to set out the matters that they will take into account in determining the suitability of the applicant. For example, if the premises will appeal to children and young persons, licensing authorities should think about matters relating to protection of children from being harmed or exploited by gambling and where necessary consult the Safeguarding Children Board or local equivalent. Licensing authorities should ask the applicant to set out the types of gaming that they are intending to offer and the applicant should be able to demonstrate that:

  • they understand the limits to stakes and prizes that are set out in regulations
  • the gaming offered is within the law.

Granting or refusing a permit

27.13 The licensing authority can grant or refuse an application for a permit, but cannot add conditions. The licensing authority may grant a permit only if they have consulted the chief officer of police about the application. The licensing authority will want to take account of any objections that the police may wish to make which are relevant to the licensing objectives. Relevant considerations would include the suitability of the applicant in terms of any convictions that they may have that would make them unsuitable to operate prize gaming; and the suitability of the premises in relation to their location and any issues concerning disorder.

27.14 A permit cannot be issued in respect of a vessel or a vehicle.

27.15 The licensing authority may not refuse an application unless they have notified the applicant of the intention to refuse and the reasons for it, and given them an opportunity to make representations orally or in writing or both.

27.16 If a permit is granted, the licensing authority must issue it as soon as is reasonably practicable. The Secretary of State has set out the form of the permit in regulations (SI No 455/2007: The Gambling Act 2005 (Prize Gaming)(Permits) Regulations 2007). The permit must specify the person to whom it is issued, the premises to which it relates, the nature of the gaming, the date on which it takes effect, the date on which it expires, and the name and address of the licensing authority issuing the permit. Scottish Ministers have made separate regulations (SSI No 309/2007: The Gambling Act 2005 (Fees)(Scotland) Regulations 2007) in respect of fees associated with prize gaming permits.

27.17 If the person to whom the permit is issued changes their name, or wants to be known by another name, they may send the permit to the issuing authority for amendment, together with the appropriate fee. The authority must comply with the request and return the permit to the holder.

Duration, lapse, surrender and forfeiture

27.18 The permit will have effect for ten years, unless it ceases to have effect, lapses or is renewed. There is no annual fee for prize gaming permits.

27.19 The permit may lapse for a number of reasons:

  • if the holder ceases to occupy the premises
  • if an individual permit holder dies, becomes incapable by reason of mental or physical incapacity, becomes bankrupt, or sequestration of his estate is ordered
  • if a company holding the permit goes into liquidation
  • if the holder (for example a partnership) otherwise ceases to exist.

27.20 Where a permit lapses, the Act provides that the permit may be relied upon for a period of six months after it has lapsed, by the following persons:

  • the personal representative of the holder (in the case of death)
  • the trustee of the bankrupt estate (in the case of individual bankruptcy)
  • the holder’s interim or permanent trustee (in the case of an individual whose estate is sequestrated)
  • the liquidator of the company (in the case of a company that goes into liquidation).

27.21 The permit may also cease to have effect if the holder surrenders it to the licensing authority. Notice of such surrender must be accompanied by the permit, or an explanation as to why the permit cannot be produced.

27.22 If the permit holder is convicted of a relevant offence (that is an offence listed in Schedule 7 of the Act), the court may order the forfeiture of the permit. The court must order the holder to deliver the permit to the licensing authority, or provide a statement explaining why it is not reasonably practicable to produce it. The court must notify the licensing authority that it has made a forfeiture order as soon as is reasonably practicable after making the order. Such an order may be suspended by a higher court pending appeal against conviction of a relevant offence.


27.23 In accordance with paragraph 18 of Schedule 14, an application for renewal of a permit must be made during the period beginning six months before the permit expires and ending two months before it expires. The procedure for renewal is the same as for an application.

27.24 A permit will not cease to have effect while a renewal application is pending, including an appeal against a decision not to renew.


27.25 The permit must be kept on the premises and it is an offence not to produce it when requested to do so by a constable, an enforcement officer, or an authorised local authority officer.

27.26 If a permit is lost, stolen or damaged, the holder may apply for a replacement subject to paying the fee set by the Secretary of State and Scottish Ministers. The licensing authority must grant the application if it is satisfied that the permit has been lost, stolen or damaged and a report has been made to the police. It should issue a copy and certify it as a true copy.


27.27 The rights of appeal in relation to permits are discussed in Part 12 of this guidance.