Gaming machines in pubs and bars

Certain premises, which are licensed for the sale of alcohol, are entitled to make a number of gaming machines available for use on their premises, if we have given permission to do so.

To qualify, the premises must:

  • Be licensed to supply alcohol, for consumption on those premises (off-licences are not eligible),
  • Contain a bar (restaurants without a bar are not eligible),
  • Not be subject to any licence conditions restricting alcohol sales to people having meals on the premises,
  • Not be licensed under the Gambling Act 2005 (for example, betting shops, casinos, adult gaming centres).

Gaming machines must be supplied and maintained by a licensed supplier, and the premises must follow the  Gambling Commission's Code of Practice for clubs and licensed premises (PDF 53KB).

Gaming machines are categorised according to how much they cost to use and the maximum prize available. Only category C or D gaming machines can be made available for use in pubs and bars. The Gambling Commission provides further information on the categories of gaming machine which may be made available in these premises.

Licensed premises gaming machines

For more information, click on the headings below.

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  • Notification of gaming machines (1 or 2 gaming machines)

    Notifications can only be given by the holder of the premises licence (or by an agent they have appointed) for the premises to which the notification relates, by completing the form below.

     Licensed premises gaming machine notification form (PDF 87KB)

    The completed application form should be sent to us, together with payment of the appropriate fee, which is currently set at £50.

    If the form has been completed correctly, we will acknowledge receipt of the notification. The holder of the premises licence may then make up to two gaming machines available within the licensed premises for as long as they hold the alcohol licence.

    Notifications are subject to a statutory condition, requiring that the holder complies with the Commission's code of practice for clubs and licensed premises. We also recommend that you read the 'licensed premises gaming machine permits and notifications' section of our Statement of Principles, for further information on our expectations of notified premises.

    Continuation of the automatic entitlement

    The notification is valid for as long as the person notifying holds the premises licence for the venue. It will lapse if the alcohol licence is transferred to another person or company, or if the alcohol licence itself lapses.

    The notification will also cease to have effect if the alcohol licence is changed in such a way that the premises no longer qualifies for the automatic entitlement (for example, if a condition is added to the licence limiting alcohol sales to people having food only).

    Notifications are not transferrable - any new occupier of the premises who wishes to continue providing gaming machines will need to give a new notification in his own name.

    We may revoke the automatic entitlement for a particular premises if it is believed that:

    • Gaming has taken place on premises in breach of the code of practice or other statutory requirements.
    • The premises are mainly used used for gaming.
    • Allowing the provision of gaming machines to continue would not be consistent with the licensing objectives.
    • A gambling-related offence has been committed on the premises.
  • Licensed premises gaming machine permit (3 or more machines)

    Applications for permits can only be made by the holder of the premises licence for the premises to which the application relates. All applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

    Applicants should read the 'licensed premises gaming machine permits and notifications' section of our Statement of Principles, for further information on our expectations of permit holders.

     Licensed premises gaming machine permit application form (PDF 112KB)

    The completed application form should be sent to us, together with payment of the appropriate fee.

    In the application form, you will be asked how many machines you wish to make available, and of what categories (C or D). We will look at your application carefully, and may refuse the application (or grant it for a lower number of machines) if we think that you are applying for an excessive number of machines.

    If we have concerns about your application, we will advise you of this and give you an opportunity to make representations. After considering any representations you make, a decision will be made to either grant your application, to grant a smaller number of machines or a different category than had been sought, or to refuse your application outright.

    Where applications are refused or granted for a different number of machines than requested, there will be a right of appeal to the magistrates' court, within 21 days of notification of the refusal.

    No conditions can be attached to a permit, other than the statutory condition requiring that the holder complies with the code of practice.

    Maintenance of licensed premises gaming machine permits

    Licensed premises gaming machine permits are valid for an unlimited duration but they will lapse if the holder ceases to hold the alcohol licence, or if the alcohol licence itself lapses.

    An annual fee (currently £50) is payable for all licensed premises gaming machine permits. The first fee is due 30 days after the permit is granted and then on the anniversary of the grant. Permits may be revoked if the annual fee is not paid.

    The original permit must be kept on the premises to which it relates, and produced for inspection if requested by a police officer, a Gambling Commission enforcement officer or an authorised council officer. If lost, stolen or damaged, a duplicate permit can be obtained from us, but a fee will be payable for this. It will also be necessary to report lost or stolen permits to the police.

    If a different person takes over the running of the premises and has the alcohol licence transferred to them, the permit must also be transferred to the new licence-holder. The same application form available above can be used for this.

    The permit can be varied to change the number or category of machines authorised. A variation application can be made using the same form available above.

    Permits can be surrendered if no longer required, by returning the original permit to us with a covering note.

    We may revoke a permit if it is believed that:

    • gaming has taken place on premises in breach of a permit
    • the premises are mainly used used for making gaming machines available
    • allowing the permit to continue to have effect would not be consistent with the licensing objectives
    • a gambling-related offence has been committed on the premises.