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Classification of crane machines

As these are gaming machines, a premises licence or permit from the local authority is needed to site them. Depending on the type of premises, some unlicensed operators will also need to apply for an operating licence.

Although the majority of this type of machine are operated as cranes within adult gaming and family entertainment centres under the category D stake and prize limits, there has been a trend where they are being offered to the public. When offered to the public, they are presented as a skill machine as opposed to a gaming machine, without the necessary permissions to do so. This occurs in pubs, shopping centres, motorway service areas and other similar venues.

Machines which are capable of being used as a gaming machine, whether or not they are currently operating as a gaming machine, are classified as a gaming machine. For example, a machine fitted with a compensator, which allows it to be converted from a skill machine to a gaming machine, is classified as a gaming machine.

You can see a more detailed definition of gaming machines in section 235 of the Gambling Act (opens in a new tab)

Machines using a mechanical arm or similar device to select a prize and which employ a compensator unit to determine the percentage pay-out of the machine, need to be clearly marked as a gaming machine (skill and chance combined). They also may only be operated in premises where the necessary permissions are in place.

Operators supplying or maintaining these types of machine must have an operator’s licence. Check the public register for those who hold or have applied for an operators’ licence.

Warning Where the relevant permission has not been granted the machine should be removed from the site immediately.
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Non-complex cat D gaming machines (crane grabs)
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Machine technical standards
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