With this document you can:

This box is not visible in the printed version.

When a machine is available for use

Information on when we consider a game machine to be available to use and common questions around this.

Published: 24 October 2019

Last updated: 13 July 2023

This version was printed or saved on: 8 December 2023

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/licensees-and-businesses/guide/when-a-machine-is-available-for-use

Overview: > This updated guidance was originally published in October 2019.

We consider a gaming machine is ‘available for use’ if a player can take steps to play it without needing the assistance of the operator.

More than the permitted number of machines may be physically located on a premises. However, it is the licensees responsibility to make sure that no more than the permitted number are ‘available for use’ at any one time.

Available for use in AGC or bingo premises under the 20% regulations

Licensees are only entitled to count the number of machines that can be played simultaneously by different players without physical hindrance.


A multi-position machine could not be classed as two or more machines if two or more players playing at the same time were required to stand closely together and therefore discouraged the second player from using the machine.

In relation to tablets, licensees should ensure that there is sufficient floorspace in the premises to permit counted tablets to be used simultaneously.

Read more information on when a machine is available for use' in AGC or bingo premises under the 20% regulations

Machines providing more than one category

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.

Machines that are networked

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.

Electronic Bingo Terminals (EBTs)

EBTs that offer gaming machine content in addition to bingo content are gaming machines. They are subject to adherence with the principles around AGC or bingo premises under the 20% regulations.

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.