Betting and gaming licences

To successfully operate in the betting and gaming industry you need to make sure that you have the correct licences in place. Our licensing team frequently acts in applications for betting and gaming licences under the Gambling Act 2005.

Our licensing legal experts have experience of dealing with a variety of licensing businesses and typical betting and gaming activities such as:

  • betting shops;
  • amusement arcades;
  • gaming machine licences;
  • bingo licences;
  • casino licences;
  • pools and lotteries licence applications and raffles;
  • race courses; and
  • online gambling sites.

Our experience with gambling licences gives us practical insight into the day-to-day issues affecting you and your business. Our licensing solicitors have extensive experience in the betting and gaming industry and have dealt with gambling licences under previous legislation as well as the Gambling Act 2005. We have also dealt with a large number of applications for conversions of various betting licences to the new regime of operator’s licences and premises licences.

Specialist licensing solicitors

Our team combines expertise in both licensing and regulation to ensure that you have the right support for your needs and we act for clients throughout England and Wales advising on the following:

  • making applications under the Gambling Act 2005 for operators licences and premises licences;
  • making applications under the Gambling Act 2005 for variations of operators licences and for transfers of premises licences;
  • advising clients on effects of licences when the licence holder is bankrupt/insolvent; and
  • defending prosecutions for breaches of licences.

Betting and gambling licensing FAQs

Is it legal for me to arrange for games with stakes like poker to be played in my pub?

You can arrange games like poker in your public house but only in accordance with strict conditions imposed by the Gambling Commission. There is a maximum value to the stake per player, a maximum value of total combined stake per day and a maximum value to any prize. The Licensing Authority can take action against any person breaching these conditions or limits. You cannot charge a participation fee, not even, for example charging entrants for a meal in order to participate in the game nor an entrance fee on the door. Your game cannot be linked to another game of poker elsewhere (linked meaning participants across different venues playing the same poker game).

Can I run a gambling business without a licence?

You must hold an operating licence if you are intending to run a gambling business for profit such as a betting shop, a gaming machine arcade or a casino. In addition, where the business is based at premises, you will require a premises licence. If you run a gambling business for profit without the relevant licences you could be committing an offence and you could be prosecuted. There are certain exemptions from holding an operating licence for small lotteries and small raffles run not for profit and for fundraising for societies, schools and clubs only.

Do I need a licence for gaming machines in my pub?

Alcohol licensed premises have an automatic entitlement to up to two category C or D machines upon notification to the Licensing Authority. Although there is an automatic entitlement you must still ensure that you provide notification to the Licensing Authority. In addition, alcohol licenses premises can apply for a gaming machine permit for additional machines. There are different provisions for clubs and institutes.

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