There are three types of amusement arcade under the Gambling Act 2005.
Adult Gaming Centres (AGCs) - high-street outlets with gaming machines only available to over 18s including slots, casino-style games and fruit machines. AGCs must have a Gambling Commission licence.
Unlicensed Family Entertainment Centres (uFECs) - such as family-friendly amusement arcades and small arcades in holiday parks and resorts. Unlicensed FECs must have a permit from the local licensing authority.
Family Entertainment Centres (FECs) - larger arcades which cater for a range of ages. They're allowed to provide an unlimited number of certain types of gaming machine in a premises which is open to all ages. Category C machines must be in a segregated, supervised area to stop under 18s from playing. FECs must have a Gambling Commission licence.
Read more about the types of amusement arcades.
Licences and Fees
There are different types of licence that arcade businesses may need to apply for, you may need more than of the following:
We issue operating licences and personal licences; premises licences are issued by local licensing authorities.
Types of operating licence
An operating licence allows you to provide gambling activities to customers in Great Britain.
You can apply to us for a licence to provide arcade games in a premises (non-remote).
The fees you need to pay depend on what you are applying for, and what your anticipated gross gambling yield (GGY) is.
Calculating your fees
Our online fees calculator can help you with understanding the amounts of your application, first annual and annual fees.
Personal Management Licences
Personal Management Licences allow people to work in certain roles in a gambling business.
Some businesses do not require personal licences to be held. Instead, you need to submit an Annex A. These are required for businesses with three employees or less.
If your business qualifies as a small-scale operator, you can submit an Annex A instead of applying for a Personal Management Licence.
You will need a premises licence to provide arcade games to players in a non-remote setting. You will need to apply to the licensing authority the premises is located, to get a premises licence.
You will need to apply for an operating licence, before you apply for any premises licences.
Legislation and Policies
Gambling in Great Britain and the Gambling Commission's duties and responsibilities are detailed in the Gambling Act 2005.
The following legislation and policies are also applicable to operating licence holders.
Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP)
The LCCP outlines the requirements that all operating and personal licence holders must follow.
Policies and guidance
The following guidance and policies are also relevant for all licensees.
All licence holders must comply with our technical standards and requirements. However, these standards should not be used as a measure of reliability, quality or security.
These standards and requirements permit equivalence between different types of technology and do not specify proprietary products or technologies.
Testing regimes for these standards will permit equivalent international standards (ISO).
Getting a licence
You can apply online for an adult gaming centre (AGC) or licensed family entertainment centre (FEC) licence. You do not require a licence for unlicensed family entertainment centres (UFECs).
The length of an arcade application depends on the complexity of your business.
You will need to apply for an operating licence, before you apply for a premises licence from the local licensing authority.
Information you'll need for getting a licence
We will ask you to provide information about you and your business as part of your licence application.
You can use our online service to apply for an operating licence.
If you have not used the service before, you'll need an email address only you can access to be able to create an account.
Make sure you include all the information we ask for when you submit your application. If your application is rejected because something is missing, we will not refund your application fee.
Assessing your application
If your application is rejected
We will send you a letter explaining which documents are missing and you'll need to reapply online.
You must provide the missing documents, as well as the documents you included originally, and you will need to pay the application fee again.
If we grant you a licence to run a gambling business, you will be able to download a copy of your licence from eServices.
You must make your licence available for inspection by request from Gambling Commission staff, licensing authority staff or other official bodies such as the police or fire service.
When you hold a licence
An important part of the Gambling Commission’s work is to ensure that licence holders are compliant. Compliance requires licence holders to understand and act in accordance with:
- the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in a new tab)
- regulations (statutory instruments) made under the Gambling Act 2005
- the Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP)
- any technical standards that apply to operating licences.
Compliance activity is based on risk and the risk that each licensed activity poses to the Gambling Commission’s licensing objectives.
The three licensing objectives are:
- keeping crime out of gambling
- ensuring gambling is conducted fairly and openly
- protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
Guidance and information for running a compliant gambling business. Including information on how we carry out assessments, your responsibilities under the LCCP and other gambling-related legislation.
What you need to tell us
You are required to tell us about certain things that happen in your business, these are dependent on the licences and activities you hold.
What you need to tell us when you hold an operating licence
Key events for operators
Guidance to operators for age verification test purchasing (non-remote)
Regulatory returns guidance
Gaming machine and remote games information requirements
We provide details of all businesses and individuals we licence on our Public Register service.
When you are issued a licence, we will display the details of your licence on the register.
- your head office address
- details of the activities you are licensed for and from when
- domain and trading names you've told us about, and
- details of any regulatory action that has been carried out.
Making changes to your licence
You can make most changes to your licence online, using eServices.
- add or remove licence activities
- change the activity fee category up or down
- add or remove management or key people in the business
- add or remove trading names
- add or remove domain names for websites where you provide gambling.
Some of these changes require you to pay a fee.
Surrendering your licence
If you no longer need your licence, you can surrender it.