Guidance to licensing authorities
- Changes to the Guidance for Licensing Authorities
- Part 1: General guidance on the role and responsibilities of licensing authorities in gambling regulation
- Part 2: The licensing framework
- Part 3: The Gambling Commission
- Part 4: Licensing authorities
- Part 5: Principles to be applied by licensing authorities
- Part 6: Licensing authority policy statement
- Part 7: Premises licences
- Part 8: Responsible authorities and interested parties definitions
- Part 9: Premises licence conditions
- Part 10: Review of premises licence by licensing authority
- Part 11: Provisional statements
- Part 12: Rights of appeal and judicial review
- Part 13: Information exchange
- Part 14: Temporary use notices
- Part 15: Occasional use notices
- Part 16: Gaming machines
- Part 17: Casinos
- Part 18: Bingo
- Part 19: Betting premises
- Part 20: Tracks
- Part 21: Adult gaming centres
- Part 22: Licensed family entertainment centres
- Part 23: Introduction to permits
- Part 24: Unlicensed family entertainment centres
- Part 25: Clubs
- Part 26: Premises licensed to sell alcohol
- Part 27: Prize gaming and prize gaming permits
- Part 28: Non-commercial and private gaming, betting and lotteries
- Part 29: Poker
- Part 30: Travelling fairs
- Part 31: Crown immunity and excluded premises
- Part 32: Territorial application of the Gambling Act 2005
- Part 33: Door supervision
- Part 34: Small society lotteries
- Part 35: Chain gift schemes
- Part 36: Compliance and enforcement matters
- Appendix A: Summary of machine provisions by premises
- Appendix B: Summary of gaming machine categories and entitlements
- Appendix C: Summary of gaming entitlements for clubs and alcohol-licensed premises
- Appendix D: Summary of offences under the Gambling Act 2005
- Appendix E: Summary of statutory application forms and notices
- Appendix F: Inspection powers
- Appendix G: Licensing authority delegations
- Appendix H: Poker games and prizes
- Appendix I: Glossary of terms
1 - Introduction
16.1. This part of the guidance describes the categories of gaming machine and the number of such machines that may be permitted in each type of gambling premises as set out in the Act. Licensing authorities should note that the term ‘gaming machine’ now covers all machines on which people can gamble – subject to the exceptions below – and the term has been preserved in the Act, because it is one that is readily understood.
16.2. S.235(1) of the Act sets out the definition of a gaming machine. The definition is wider than those included in previous gambling legislation and covers all types of gambling activity that can take place on a machine, including betting on virtual events. However, the following should be noted:
- there remains a distinction between skill machines and gaming machines, in that skill machines are unregulated
- S.235(2) contains important exemptions for equipment that is not to be considered a gaming machine, even when gambling can be performed on it – for example, a home PC is not classed as a gaming machine, even though someone could access remote gambling facilities on a home PC.
16.3. Specific guidance on machines that are exempt is set out later in this part of the guidance, although licensing authorities should take legal advice or contact the Commission directly if they have concerns about the precise legal status of equipment being used on premises.
16.4. The Commission is responsible for licensing manufacturers and suppliers of gaming machines and advises operators to obtain machines from Commission-licensed suppliers. Similarly, permit holders and those applying for permits for clubs, alcohol-licensed premises or family entertainment centres will also be advised through Commission guidance to obtain gaming machines from Commission-licensed suppliers.
16.5. The Commission has set gaming machine technical standards relating to the way in which each category of machine will operate. The Commission has also set out a testing strategy that details the testing arrangements for each category of machine. The Commission has the power to test gaming machines, both before they are supplied and when in operation in premises, to ensure that they are operating as advertised.
16.6. In order for a premises to site gaming machines some form of authorisation is normally required. Typically, this is:
- an operating licence from the Commission and a gambling premises licence from a licensing authority
- an alcohol premises licence from a licensing authority
- a gaming machine permit from a licensing authority.
16.7. Depending on the authorisation, there are limits placed on the category of machines that can be sited and, in some cases, on the number of machines that can be made available for use.
16.8. If a licensing authority has concerns relating to the manufacture, supply, installation, maintenance or repair of gaming machines, or the manner in which they are operating, it should contact the Commission.
16.9. S.172 of the Act prescribes the number and category of gaming machines that are permitted in each type of gambling premises licensed by authorities. Neither the Commission nor licensing authorities have the power to set different limits or further expand or restrict the categories of machine that are permitted. The exception to this is alcohol-licensed premises that hold gaming machine permits, where licensing authorities have discretion to specify the number of permitted gaming machines. In addition, limits are set separately in the Act for certain types of permit issued by licensing authorities. Machine limits are summarised at Appendix A of this guidance.Next section
Categories of gaming machine
Last updated: 14 September 2023
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