Guide Guidance on Gambling Act 2005

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1. Overview of gambling activities and licences


You will need a licence if you want to provide facilities for gambling or the use of a premises for gambling.  The three types of gambling licensable are: 

  • gaming
  • betting
  • participating in a lottery


This means playing a game of chance for a prize


This means making or accepting a bet on:

  • the outcome of a race, competition or other event or process
  • the likelihood of anything happening or not happening
  • whether anything is or is not true

Participating in a lottery

This includes raffles, tombolas and sweepstakes.  Lotteries can't be run for commercial gain and are where:

  • people have to pay to take part
  • prizes are allocated to participants
  • the prizes are either allocated wholly by chance or by a series of processes where the first of those processes relies wholly on chance

The Gambling Commission

The Gambling Commission is the national gambling regulator. They are responsible for issuing:

  • personal licences
  • operating licences
  • statutory guidance 
  • codes of practice

All premises that require a premises licence will also need an operators licence. Many will also require personal licences although there are some exemptions for small operators. Applications for operator licences and personal licences must be made to the Gambling Commission.

If you have not applied for operators or personal licences it is important that you contact the Gambling Commission or visit their website for advice.

They also monitor compliance, investigate illegal gambling, have prosecution powers and issue useful publications and advice.

Some useful publications include:

  • Code of practice for gaming machines in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence
  • Code of practice for equal chance gaming in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence
  • Advice on allowing poker in alcohol licensed premises
  • Advice on allowing poker in clubs
  • Can I hold a race night, casino night or poker night?

The licensing objectives

The three objectives of the Gambling Act are:

  • to prevent gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
  • to make sure gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • to protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling

We are not able to become involved in the moral issues relating to gambling and must aim to allow the use of premises for gambling as long as we think it:

  • meets any relevant codes of practice
  • meets any relevant guidance issued by the gambling commission
  • is reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives; and
  • is in accordance with our statement of licensing policy

Our responsibilities and the licences we issue

We are the licensing authority for premises located in East Devon and are responsible for premises licences and permits. 

We are responsible for issuing:

Premises licences for:

  • casinos (we are not currently considering casino licence applications)
  • betting offices
  • race tracks
  • bingo clubs
  • adult gaming centres (for category B3 or B4, C and D gaming machines)
  • family entertainment centres (for category C and D gaming machines)

Permits for:

  • gaming machines in members clubs
  • club gaming permits in members clubs
  • gaming machine permits for alcohol licensed premises
  • notification of up to two gaming machines in alcohol licensed premises
  • gaming machine permits for unlicensed family entertainment centres
  • prize gaming

We are also responsible for administering:

 and registering small society lotteries (under £20,000 ticket sales)

Public register

You can view details of existing gambling licences and a list of current applications on our licensing public register.

Summary of machine provisions by premises

Different types of premises can have different categories of machines.  These are all set out in the following link for summary of machine provisions by premises.

Machine category chart

Gaming machines are split up into different categories.  Each category of machines has a different maximum stake and maximum prize.  You can look at these categories by clicking on this link for machine category chart.

Gambling policy statement

If you are going to apply for a licence, notice or permit you'll need to read our statement of licensing policy first.

We are the licensing authority and we deal with all licensing functions relating to the activities shown above in its area.  We are required to prepare and publish a Gambling Policy every three years which explains the factors that we will consider when examining applications for licences and for monitoring compliance with licence conditions.  This policy also explains how we expect applicants to meet the three national licensing objectives of:

  • Prevent gambling from being a source of crime and disorder, being associated with crime and disorder, or being used to support crime
  • Ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • Protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling

When determining applications for licences we can only consider matters that will impact on one or more of these objectives.