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
6 - The meaning of ‘available for use’
16.16. S.242 of the Act makes it an offence for a person to make a gaming machine available for use, where they do not hold an operating licence or other permission covering gaming machines and where no other exemption applies.
16.17. The Act does not define what ‘available for use’ means, but the Commission considers that a gaming machine is ‘available for use’ if a person can take steps to play it without the assistance of the operator.
16.18. More than the permitted number of machines may be physically located on a premises, but the onus is on licensees to demonstrate that no more than the permitted number are ‘available for use’ at any one time.
16.19. A machine that can operate at more than one category, which is operating at a lower category, does not contribute to the number of machines ‘available for use’ at a higher category until it switches to that category. Licensees must ensure no more than the permitted number are ‘available for use’ at any one time.
16.20. Systems in which a number of machines are networked so that the player can select which game and category they play are permitted but licensees must still adhere to any restrictions on the number of machines at a certain category.
16.21. Gaming machine entitlements in AGC or bingo premises set out that only 20 percent of machines can be category B machines in order to ensure a balanced offering of gambling products and restrict harder gambling opportunities.
16.22. Machine design has changed in recent years and space-saving gaming machines – in the form of tablets, multi-player units and narrow or in-fill machines – have become available. Some of these machines appear to have been designed primarily to maximise category B machine entitlements.
16.23. We updated our ‘available for use’ guidance in 2019 to make it clear that for the purpose of calculating the category B machine entitlement in gambling premises, gaming machines should only be counted if they can be played simultaneously by different players without physical hindrance. For example, the Commission would consider that a multi-position machine that technically allows two or more players to play simultaneously but in reality requires those players to stand very closely together or adopt unnatural participation positions, to the effect that a second player would be discouraged from attempting to use the machine, could not be classed as two or more machines.
16.24. In relation to tablets, licensees should ensure that there is sufficient floorspace in the premises to permit counted tablets to be used simultaneously.
16.25. Electronic Bingo Terminals (EBTs) that offer gaming machine content in addition to bingo content are gaming machines and subject to adherence with the above principles. Licensees are reminded however that an EBT must only allow participation in one gambling activity at a time and should not therefore contain functionality which allows participation in bingo and gaming machine activity simultaneously.
16.26. We have published our ‘available for use’ guidance on the Commission website, and provided additional information specifically in relation to when is a gaming machine 'available for use' in AGC or bingo premises under the 20 percent regulations.Previous section
Multiple activity premises Next section
Machines other than gaming machines in gambling premises
Last updated: 14 September 2023
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