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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


1 - Prize 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. 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 (opens in new tab) and SI No 774/2010: The Gambling Act 2005 (Operating Licence Conditions) (Amendment) Regulations 2010) (opens in new tab).

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 1272/2009: The Gambling Act 2005 (Limits on Prize Gaming) Regulations 2009) (opens in new tab), 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.
Next section
Application for a prize gaming permits
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