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Guidance to licensing authorities

The Gambling Commission's guidance for licensing authorities.


1 - Introduction

30.1. The Act defines a travelling fair as ‘wholly or principally’ providing amusements and they must be on a site that has been used for fairs for no more than 27 days per calendar year. The Act does not change the principles on which travelling fairs have been regulated under previous legislation.

30.2. Travelling fairs may provide an unlimited number of category D gaming machines provided that facilities for gambling amount to no more than an ancillary amusement at the fair. They do not require a permit to provide these gaming machines but must comply with legal requirements about how the machine operates. Current stakes and prizes can be found at Appendix B of this guidance.

30.3. Higher stake category B and C fruit machines, like those typically played in arcades and pubs, are not permitted. Fairground operators must source their machines from a Commission licensed supplier and employees working with gaming machines must be at least 18 years old.

30.4. Part 27 of this guidance discusses the prize gaming that may be provided at travelling fairs.

30.5. Licensing authorities should note that the 27-day maximum is during a calendar year and not in any 12-month period and applies to the piece of land on which fairs are held, regardless of whether it is the same or different travelling fairs occupying the land. Authorities should therefore monitor the use of land and maintain a record of the dates on which it is used. If the land straddles licensing authority areas, the authorities concerned will need to work together to maintain a central log.

30.6. Local authorities in England and Wales may adopt by laws to control travelling fairs under a discretionary power set out in s.75 of the Public Health Act 1961 (opens in new tab), as amended. In Scotland travelling fairs are licensed by the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (opens in new tab).

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