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When is a licence required?

A gaming machine licence is required for any machine which:

  • has been constructed/adapted for playing a game of chance by means of the machine, and
  • has a slot or other aperture for accepting money or money's worth in the form of cash or tokens.

A gaming machine licence is required in respect of premises providing amusements with prizes by way of machines.

If your premises have a Justice on-licence granted under the Licensing Act 1964 and you wish to have gaming machines on your premises, then you must apply to the local Magistrates Court for a Permit. In all other instances, you should apply to us.

Where premises have a liquor licence, the gaming machine permit is obtained from the local magistrates' court. In all other premises, applications should be made to us.

The most common applications of gaming machines are those commonly referred to as 'fruit machines' and 'one-armed bandits' which make small payments. Typically, these machines would be found in amusement arcades, motorway service stations, take-aways, cafés, pubs and clubs.

The maximum charge permissible for a game is 30p. Where the machine in question pays out a combination of cash, gifts and/or tokens, the maximum payout permissible is £5 in cash or £8 in cash and/or tokens. There are no age restrictions in force for such machines, so children can also play them.

Where the machine in question pays out cash only, the maximum payout permissible is £15. There is an age restriction in force for such machines, limiting access to persons aged 18 years and over only (i.e. they must be in an area of the premises which underage users cannot gain access to).

When is a licence not required?

A licence is not required where the machine in question is based only on a game of skill (for example, quiz machines), or is an amusement only machine and in either case no money or token is paid out by the machine.

How many types of permit are there?

There are two types of permit:

  • s34(1) Gaming Act 1968 - for money prizes/tokens not exceeding £8
  • s34(5E) Gaming Act 1968 - for money prizes/tokens exceeding £8 (These permits have additional conditions attached pertaining to restrictions on persons under 18 years of age).

How do I apply for a permit?

We will be able to give preliminary advice about the types of premises where they will allow gaming machines and, if required, we will send out the appropriate advisory literature and an application form to you. Each licence is granted for a period of three years.

Further enquiries

If you would like to make an enquiry about gaming machine licences, contact the Environmental Health and Licensing team.

Environmental Health and Licensing

Daneshill House





01438 242908 / 242916