The majority of operators offering gaming machines will need an operating licence from the Gambling Commission and a premises licence from the Licensing Authority
Categories of gaming machines
The Act defines four classes of gaming machines, categories A, B, C and D, with category B divided into a further five subcategories. The four classes have been defined according to the maximum amount that can be paid for playing the machine and the maximum prize it can deliver, as summarised in this table:
|Category of Machine||Maximum Stake||Maximum Prize|
|B2||£100 (9 in multiples of £10)||£500|
There is a minimum age of 18 for all players for all category A, B and C machines, including category B3A gaming machines offering lottery games. However, there is no minimum age for players of category D machines. The holder of any permit or premises licence has to comply with the codes of practice issued by the Commission on the location of and access to gaming machines by children and young persons, and the separation from category C and B machines where those are also located on the same premises.
Maximum number of machines by premises type
The maximum number of machines permitted, and in the case of casinos the ratios between tables and machines, is set out by premises type below:
Small casinos must have at least one gaming table to qualify for gaming machines, and are permitted two machines (of category B, C or D) for each gaming table available for use. Small casinos need 40 gaming tables available for use to qualify for the maximum 80 machines.
The holder of a bingo premises licence may make available for use any number of category C and D machines. The premises licence holder may also offer a number of category B gaming machines not exceeding 20% of the total number of gaming machines available for use on the premises. Regulations state that category B machines at bingo premises are restricted to sub-category B3 and B4 machines.
The holder of a betting premises licence may make available for use up to four gaming machines of category B, C or D. By virtue of section 172(9) this permission extends to tracks, but only those where the licence holder also holds a pool betting operating licence. Regulations state that category B machines at betting premises are restricted to sub-category B2, B3 and B4 machines.
The holder of an adult gaming centre premises licence may make available for use any number of category C and D machines. The premises licence holder may also offer a number of category B gaming machines not exceeding 20% of the total number of gaming machines available for use on the premises. Regulations state that category B machines at adult gaming centres are restricted to sub-category B3 and B4.
The holder of a family entertainment centre premises licence may make available for use any number of category C and D machines. However category C machines must be in a separate area to ensure the segregation and supervision of machines that may only be played by adults.
Permits Issued by us
The holder of a family entertainment centre gaming machine permit may make available for use any number of category D machines. As with the position on licences, there is no power for the licensing authority to set a limit on the number of machines under the permit.
The fee for a permit is £300.00.
The holder of a club gaming permit or club machine permit may make available for use on premises operated by a members' club, a commercial club or a miners' welfare institute, up to three machines of category B, C or D . As well as clubs with alcohol licences, premises that are not licensed to sell alcohol, for example works premises which operate membership-based social clubs, are able to apply for a club gaming permit. They need to have 25 members, be permanently established and be for the benefit of the members.
Regulations state that category B machines for club machines permits are restricted to sub-category B3A or B4 machines, depending on the class of club. Commercial clubs are restricted to B4 machines whereas members' clubs and miners' welfare institutes may site sub-category B3A machines.
The fee is £200 or £100 if the applicant is an existing permit holder.
In such qualifying premises there is an automatic entitlement to two gaming machines of category C or D, subject to notifying the licensing authority, paying the prescribed fee (£50) and complying with any relevant code of practice issued by the Commission. In addition, in accordance with the Act, an application may be made for a licensed premises gaming machines permit, which allows for further category C or D machines to be made available in alcohol-licensed premises. There is no limit in the Act to the number of additional machines that may be authorised. This will be a matter for the licensing authority to determine in each case, and specify on the permit.
The fee is £150 or £100 if the application is made by an existing operator.
Gaming machines were available in premises such as take away food shops and taxi offices, and other un-licensed premises where children could play them unsupervised. Under the Gambling Act 2005 gaming machines will no longer be available in these premises.
How to apply
Download the relevant forms from the download section complete and return these to the address below with the appropriate fee.
Please contact Licensing, providing as much information as you can to enable us to respond as quickly as possible.
Or write to:
Education & Enterprise
City of Wolverhampton Council
Civic Centre, St. Peter's Square