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Gaming machine categories

A gaming machine is defined by the Gambling Act 2005 as a machine that is designed or adapted for use by individuals to gamble.

Published: 24 June 2021

Last updated: 8 January 2024

This version was printed or saved on: 19 April 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/licensees-and-businesses/guide/gaming-machine-categories

Overview: A gaming machine is defined by the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab) as a machine that is designed or adapted for use by individuals to gamble - whether or not it can also be used for other purposes.

Most gaming machines are of the reel-based type. These are also known as fruit, slot, or jackpot machines.

Categories

Gaming machines fall into categories depending on the maximum stake and prize available.

The categories are:

Skill with prizes (SWPs) are not gaming machines

Read more about the differences between SWPs and gaming machines.

Other systems which are not gaming machines

Devices or systems which are not defined as gaming machines include:

B1 gaming machines

There are duties to be paid on gaming machines. You should read this information in conjunction with the guidance from HMRC on GOV.UK (opens in new tab).

Requirements for B1 gaming machines

Maximum stake:
£5
Maximum prize:
£10,000 - with the option of a maximum £20,000 linked progressive jackpot on a premises basis only
Permitted location:
2005 Act and 1968 Act casinos
Maximum number of machines - 2005 Act large casinos:

Up to a maximum of 150

Any combination of categories B to D - subject to a machine to table ratio 5:1

Licences and permits required

B1 machines can only be made available in casinos. You must have either a non-remote 2005 Act casino operating licence or a non-remote 1968 Act casino operating licence to make them available.

Gaming machine technical standards

See our gaming machine technical standards (categories A and B1) for the full details of the technical standards which this category of machine must comply with.

All gaming machines sited on casino premises must comply with our gaming machine technical standards.

Test houses

Category B1, B2, B3 and B3A gaming machines must be tested by an independent test house to ensure they comply with the technical standards in full. Test houses are also sometimes referred to as test labs.

For categories A, B1, B2, B3, B3A, B4, C, D, server networked and downloadable, cashless payment, linked progressives and wireless networks refer to the gaming machine testing strategy.

Return to player (RTP)

B1 machines must display the 'theoretical target percentage return to player'. RTP is an average measured over a large number of games and will vary over a typical session due to normal game volatility.

The manufacturer will decide on the game RTP.

There is no minimum RTP requirement. However, the minimum average return must be displayed to the player for the game.

The value displayed must be verified either by the manufacturer or accredited test house for categories B1, B2, B3 and B3A.

B2 gaming machines

There are duties to be paid on gaming machines. You should read this information in conjunction with the guidance from HMRC on GOV.UK (opens in new tab).
B2 gaming machines are also known as fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT).

Gaming machines may contain games of more than one category. For example, a B2 gaming machine may also offer category B3 and category C games.

Requirements for B2 gaming machines

Maximum stake:
£2
Maximum prize:
£500
Permitted locations:
  • 2005 Act and 1968 Act casinos
  • betting shops
  • tracks with pool betting.
Maximum number of machines - 2005 Act large casinos:

Up to a maximum of 150

Any combination of categories B to D - subject to a machine to table ratio 5:1

Maximum number of machines - 2005 Act small casino:

Up to a maximum of 80

Any combination of categories B to D - subject to a machine to table ratio 2:1

Maximum number of machines - 1968 Act casino:

Up to a maximum of 20

Any combination of categories B to D - or any number of C or D machines instead

Licences and permits required

B2 machines can only be made available in casino, betting shops or at tracks with pool betting.

You must have one of the following types of licence to make them available:

If you are a machine manufacturer or supplier you will need a gaming machine technical licence, which type will depend on the nature of your business.

Gaming machine technical standards

See our gaming machine technical standards (category B2) for the full details of the technical standards which this category of machine must comply with.

All gaming machines sited on casino or betting premises must comply with our gaming machine technical standards.

Test houses

Category B1, B2, and B3 gaming machines must be tested by an independent test house to ensure they comply with the technical standards in full. Test houses are also sometimes referred to as test labs.

For categories A, B1, B2, B3, B3A, B4, C, D, server networked and downloadable, cashless payment, linked progressives and wireless networks refer to the gaming machine testing strategy.

Return to player (RTP)

B2 machines must display the 'theoretical target percentage return to player'. RTP is an average measured over a large number of games and will vary over a typical session due to normal game volatility.

The manufacturer will decide on the game RTP.

There is no minimum RTP requirement. However, the minimum average return must be displayed to the player for the game.

The value displayed must be verified either by the manufacturer or accredited test house for categories B1, B2, B3 and B3A.

B3 gaming machines

There are duties to be paid on gaming machines. You should read this information in conjunction with the guidance from HMRC on GOV.UK (opens in new tab).

Gaming machines may contain games of more than one category. For example, a B3 gaming machine may also offer category C and category D games.

AGC and bingo premises licences granted before 13 July 2011 are entitled to make available four (for AGC) or eight (for bingo) category B3/B4 gaming machines, or 20% of the total number of gaming machines, whichever is the greater.

B3 gaming machines requirements

Maximum stake:
£2
Maximum prize:
£500
Permitted locations:
  • 2005 Act and 1968 Act casinos
  • betting shops
  • tracks with pool betting
  • bingo premises
  • adult gaming centre.
Maximum number of machines - bingo premises and adult gaming centre:

Up to a maximum of 20% of the total number of machines available for use on the premises

Maximum number of machines - betting shops and tracks with pool betting:

Up to a maximum of 4

Any combination of categories B to D

Maximum number of machines - 2005 Act large casino:

Up to a maximum of 150

Any combination of categories B to D - subject to a machine to table ratio 5:1

Maximum number of machines - 2005 Act small casino:

Up to a maximum of 80

Any combination of categories B to D - subject to a machine to table ratio 2:1

Maximum number of machines - 1968 Act casino:

Up to a maximum of 20

Any combination of categories B to D - or any number of C or D machines instead

Licences and permits required

B3 machines can only be made available in casino, betting shops, tracks with pool betting, bingo halls or adult gaming centres.

You must have one of the following types of licence to make them available:

If you are a machine manufacturer or supplier you will need a gaming machine technical licence, which type will depend on the nature of your business.

Gaming machine technical standards

See our gaming machine technical standards (categories B3 and B4) for the full details of the technical standards which this category of machine must comply with.

All gaming machines sited on casino, betting or AGC premises must comply with our gaming machine technical standards.

Test houses

Category B1, B2, and B3 gaming machines must be tested by an independent test house to ensure they comply with the technical standards in full. Test houses are also sometimes referred to as test labs.

For categories A, B1, B2, B3, B3A, B4, C, D, server networked and downloadable, cashless payment, linked progressives and wireless networks refer to the gaming machine testing strategy.

Return to player (RTP)

B3 machines must display the 'theoretical target percentage return to player'. RTP is an average measured over a large number of games and will vary over a typical session due to normal game volatility.

The manufacturer will decide on the game RTP.

There is no minimum RTP requirement. However, the minimum average return must be displayed to the player for the game.

The value displayed must be verified either by the manufacturer or accredited test lab for categories B1, B2, B3 and B3A.

B3A gaming machines

There are duties to be paid on gaming machines. You should read this information in conjunction with the guidance from HMRC on GOV.UK (opens in new tab).

These products are gaming machines and not lottery products. However, the type of game is limited to ‘lottery style games’.

The game may appear to offer the player the illusion of some type of gamble or interaction as with other types of gaming machines, but the outcome of the game is predetermined by the virtual lottery ticket that the machine selects when the game starts.

B3A gaming machines requirements

Maximum stake:
£2
Maximum prize:
£500
Permitted location:
Members’ club or miners’ welfare institute only
Maximum number of machines:

Up to a maximum of 1

Licences and permits required

B3A machines can only be made available in:

Category B3A machines cannot be sited in commercial clubs. You must have a club machine permit from your local licensing authority to make them available.

If you are a machine manufacturer or supplier you will need a gaming machine technical licence, which type will depend on the nature of your business.

Gaming machine technical standards

See our gaming machine technical standards (category B3A) for the full details of the technical standards which this category of machine must comply with.

All gaming machines sited on club or miners welfare institute premises must comply with our gaming machine technical standards.

Test houses

You must ensure these gambling products have been tested by a test house before they are released to the market. Test houses are also sometimes referred to as test labs.

For categories A, B1, B2, B3, B3A, B4, C, D, server networked and downloadable, cashless payment, linked progressives and wireless networks refer to the gaming machine testing strategy.

Return to player (RTP)

B3A machines must display the actual percentage return to player for each lottery class.

The value displayed must be verified either by the manufacturer or accredited test lab for categories B1, B2, B3 and B3A.

Lottery ticket vending machines

Tickets in the following types of lottery can be sold by means of a lottery ticket vending machine.

This includes tickets in a:

This type of machine usually dispenses a scratchcard or pull-tab lottery ticket. There must be no element of skill or game play required by the purchaser and the machine must not determine the outcome of the lottery or display the result within an interval of less than one hour if it is to avoid being classed as a gaming machine and subject to the requirements for gaming machines.

See our guidance on comparing lottery ticket dispensers and category B3A gaming machines (PDF) for detailed information about the differences between the two machines.

Manufacture and supply of lottery ticket vending machines

You do not usually need a licence to manufacture or supply a genuine lottery ticket vending machine to someone lawfully promoting a lottery.

Suppliers of lottery ticket vending machines must ensure that the services they offer do not constitute promoting a lottery - unless they have the necessary permission.

For more information see our advice on organising small lotteries (PDF) and promoting society and local authority lotteries. They contain details on where, and to whom, you can sell tickets for each kind of lottery and what permissions you'll need.

B4 gaming machines

There are duties to be paid on gaming machines. You should read this information in conjunction with the guidance from HMRC on GOV.UK (opens in new tab).

B4 gaming machines requirements

Maximum stake:
£2
Maximum prize:
£400
Permitted locations:
  • members' club, miners’ welfare club or commercial club
  • bingo premises
  • adult gaming centre
  • betting shops
  • tracks with pool betting
  • 2005 Act and 1968 Act casinos.
Maximum number of machines - members' club, miners’ welfare club or commercial club

Up to a maximum of 3

Maximum number of machines - bingo premises and adult gaming centre

Up to a maximum of 20% of the total number of machines available for use on the premises

Maximum number of machines - betting shops and tracks with pool betting

Up to a maximum of 4

Any combination of categories B to D

Maximum number of machines - 2005 Act large casino:

Up to a maximum of 150

Any combination of categories B to D - subject to a machine to table ratio 5:1

Maximum number of machines - 2005 Act small casino:

Up to a maximum of 80

Any combination of categories B to D - subject to a machine to table ratio 2:1

Maximum number of machines - 1968 Act casino:

Up to a maximum of 20

Any combination of categories B to D - or any number of C or D machines instead

Licences and permits required

B4 machines can only be made available in casino, betting shops, tracks with pool betting, bingo halls, adult gaming centres, members' clubs, miners’ welfare clubs or commercial clubs.

Members' clubs - for example, working men’s clubs, branches of the Royal British Legion and clubs with political ties - and Miners’ welfare institutes - as defined in the Licensing Act 2003 (opens in new tab) may site up to three machines from categories B3A, B4, C or D (only one can be B3A) with a club machine permit.

Commercial clubs may site up to three machines from categories B4, C or D (not B3A machines).

AGC and bingo premises licences granted before 13 July 2011 are entitled to make available four (for AGC) or eight (for bingo) category B3/B4 gaming machines, or 20% of the total number of gaming machines, whichever is the greater.

You must have one of the following to make them available:

If you are a machine manufacturer or supplier you will need a gaming machine technical licence, which type will depend on the nature of your business.

Gaming machine technical standards

See our gaming machine technical standards (categories B3 and B4) for full details of the technical standards which this category of machine must comply with.

All gaming machines sited on casino premises must comply with our gaming machine technical standards.

Test houses

Category B4, C, and D gaming machines can be tested via an independent test house or via the manufacturers own processes under strict controls. Test houses are also sometimes referred to as test labs.

For categories A, B1, B2, B3, B3A, B4, C, D, server networked and downloadable, cashless payment, linked progressives and wireless networks refer to the gaming machine testing strategy.

Return to player (RTP)

B4 machines must display the 'theoretical target percentage return to player'. RTP is an average measured over a large number of games and will vary over a typical session due to normal game volatility.

The manufacturer will decide on the game RTP.

There is no minimum RTP requirement. However, the minimum average return must be displayed to the player for the game.

C gaming machines

There are duties to be paid on gaming machines. You should read this information in conjunction with the guidance from HMRC on GOV.UK (opens in new tab)

Pubs and alcohol licensed premises

Pubs and other alcohol licensed premises are automatically entitled to two category C or D gaming machines upon notification to the local licensing authority of their intention to make gaming machines available for use.

Licensing authorities can issue gaming machine permits which allow additional category C and D gaming machines to be provided.

Where a gaming machine permit authorises the making available of a specified number of gaming machines in particular premises, this will effectively replace, and not be in addition to, any automatic entitlement to two machines.

Members' clubs and miners' welfare institutes

Members' clubs - for example working men’s clubs, branches of the Royal British Legion and clubs with political ties - and Miners’ welfare institutes as defined in the Licensing Act 2003 (opens in new tab) may site up to three machines from categories B3A, B4, C or D (only one can be B3A) with a club machine permit.

Commercial clubs may site up to three machines from categories B4, C or D (not B3A machines).

C gaming machines requirements

Maximum stake:
£1
Maximum prize:
£100
Permitted locations:
  • pubs
  • licensed FEC
  • members' club, miners’ welfare club or commercial club
  • bingo premises
  • adult gaming centre
  • betting shops
  • tracks with pool betting
  • 2005 Act and 1968 Act casinos
Maximum number of machines - pubs

Up to a maximum of 2

or, specified amount with a permit from the Local Authority

Maximum number of machines - members' club, miners’ welfare club or commercial club

Up to a maximum of 3

Maximum number of machines - bingo premises, adult gaming centre and FEC

No limit

Maximum number of machines - betting shops and tracks with pool betting

Up to a maximum of 4

Any combination of categories B to D

Maximum number of machines - 2005 Act large casino:

Up to a maximum of 150

Any combination of categories B to D - subject to a machine to table ratio 5:1

Maximum number of machines - 2005 Act small casino:

Up to a maximum of 80

Any combination of categories B to D - subject to a machine to table ratio 2:1

Maximum number of machines - 1968 Act casino:

Up to a maximum of 20

Any combination of categories B to D - or any number of C or D machines instead

Licences and permits required

Category C machines can only be made available in casino, betting shops, tracks with pool betting, bingo halls, adult gaming centres, members' clubs, miners’ welfare clubs, commercial clubs or pubs.

You must have one of the following to make them available:

If you are a machine manufacturer or supplier you will need a gaming machine technical licence, which type will depend on the nature of your business.

Gaming machine technical standards

See our gaming machine technical standards (category C) for the full details of the technical standards which this category of machine must comply with.

All gaming machines sited on licensed or permitted premises must comply with our gaming machine technical standards.

Test houses

Category B4, C, and D gaming machines can be tested by an independent test house (sometimes referred to as test labs), or by the manufacturers' own processes under strict controls.

For categories A, B1, B2, B3, B3A, B4, C, D, server networked and downloadable, cashless payment, linked progressives and wireless networks refer to the gaming machine testing strategy.

Return to player (RTP)

Category C machines must display the “theoretical target percentage return to player”. RTP is an average measured over a large number of games and will vary over a typical session due to normal game volatility.

The manufacturer will decide on the game RTP.

There is no minimum RTP requirement. However, the minimum average return must be displayed to the player for the game.

D gaming machines

There are duties to be paid on gaming machines. You should read this information in conjunction with the guidance from HMRC on GOV.UK (opens in new tab)

Generally, Category D machines are low-stake fruit machine style machines, coin pushers (sometimes called penny falls) or crane grabs.

View and download examples of crane-type machines.

Category D machines can be located in the following places:

However, their use in premises other than adult gaming centres, family entertainment centres, pubs and travelling fairs is unusual.

There are five different combinations of stake and prize for the various types of category D machine.

Combinations of stake and prizes

Category D machine combinations
Combinations Stake Maximum prize
D money prize 10p £5
D non-money prize (other than crane grab machine) 30p £8
D non-money prize (crane grab machine) £1 £50
D combined money and non-money prize (other than coin pusher or penny falls machines) 10p £8 (of which no more than £5 may be a money prize)
D combined money and non-money prize (coin pusher or penny falls machine) 20p £20 (of which no more than £10 may be a money prize)

Pubs and alcohol licensed premises

Pubs and other alcohol licensed premises are automatically entitled to two category C or D gaming machines upon notification to the local licensing authority of their intention to make gaming machines available for use.

Licensing authorities can issue gaming machine permits which allow additional category C and D gaming machines to be provided.

Where a gaming machine permit authorises the making available of a specified number of gaming machines in particular premises, this will effectively replace, and not be in addition to, any automatic entitlement to two machines.

Members' clubs and miners' welfare institutes

Members' clubs - for example, working men’s clubs, branches of the Royal British Legion and clubs with political ties - and Miners’ welfare institutes - as defined in the Licensing Act 2003 (opens in new tab) may site up to three machines from categories B3A, B4, C or D (only one can be B3A) with a club machine permit.

Commercial clubs may site up to three machines from categories B4, C or D (not B3A machines).

Travelling fairs may site any number of category D gaming machines.

Bingo machines

Some category D gaming machines are designed or adapted to play bingo as a prize game. If you have prize gaming permit or a family entertainment centre permit you can make these machines available to play. The machines must comply with our Gaming machine permits code of practice

Licences and permits required

If you are a machine manufacturer or supplier you will need a gaming machine technical licence, which type will depend on the nature of your business.

Gaming machine technical standards

See our gaming machine technical standards for full details of the technical standards which this category of machine must comply with:

All gaming machines must comply with our gaming machine technical standards.

Test houses

Category B4, C, and D gaming machines can be tested via an independent test house (sometimes referred to as test labs), or by the manufacturers' own processes under strict controls.

For categories A, B1, B2, B3, B3A, B4, C, D, server networked and downloadable, cashless payment, linked progressives and wireless networks refer to the gaming machine testing strategy.

Return to player (RTP)

Category D machines must display the “theoretical target percentage return to player” unless they are crane grab or penny falls machines.

RTP is an average measured over a large number of games and will vary over a typical session due to normal game volatility.

The manufacturer will decide on the game RTP.

There is no minimum RTP requirement. However, the minimum average return must be displayed to the player for the game.