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Gambling licensing solicitors

To successfully operate in the betting and gaming industry you need to make sure that you have the correct licences in place. We act for businesses throughout the world in applications for UK Gambling Commission Operator’s Licences and UKGC and local authority premises licences.

Our experts have experience of dealing with a wide variety of applications for remote and non-remote licenses including:

  • casinos (online and physical)
  • bookmakers (online, race course and shop-based)
  • pool betting
  • betting intermediaries
  • amusement arcades
  • gaming machines
  • bingo (online and bingo halls)
  • society lotteries
  • sports books
  • Betfair Exchange Agents
  • personal licences and Annex A applications
  • gambling software

Specialist licensing solicitors

We are frequently asked to advise prize competition organisers on how to ensure that their competitions do not become illegal lotteries.

We offer a full-service licence application product in which we draft, collate and submit full applications. We also offer a consultancy service in which we assist with the aspects which applicants find most difficult, including drafting compliance policies.

We regularly advise on:

  • whether a license is required, and if so what kind
  • the application of the obligations under the Licensing Conditions and Codes of Practise in specific circumstances
  • the drafting of business plans, forecasts, policies, procedures and terms and conditions
  • compliance with reporting requirements
  • sourcing and contracting with third-parties, such as software testing houses, payment service providers and third-party funders.

Our team combines expertise in both licensing and business regulation. This equips us to advise on matters, such as:

  • Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing responsibilities (particularly as these affect casinos)
  • Responses to cease and desist letters, investigations and prosecutions.

Key contact

As the Head of the Regulatory Department, Martin acts in a wide-range of regulatory crime and professional regulation matters. Martin has built up over 20 years of experience and a wealth of specialist knowledge.

He leads the firm’s cross-departmental alcohol and gaming licensing teams. Additionally Martin manages the teams providing a range of outsourced services to local authorities, including court representation of local authorities Adult and Children’s Services Departments.

Your questions answered

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).

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.

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.

If the winner of the draw is decided purely by chance, then this is a lottery. It is illegal to run a lottery for profit. Prize competitions can be operated legally with a draw phase providing that there is also a phase in which a participant’s skill and knowledge is tested. It is important that the sometimes-complex boundary between lotteries and prize competitions are carefully respected.

If your equipment is based in the UK or if you offer gambling to UK residents, you need a UK Gambling Commission licence. This is the case even if you hold a licence in another jurisdiction.

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