Under the Gaming Act 1968, a permit is needed for premises that provide amusements with prizes by way of machines.
The most common types of gaming machines are those referred to as 'fruit machines' and 'one-armed bandits' which make small payments. Typically these machines will be found in amusement arcades, motorway service stations, takeaways and cafes, as well as pubs and clubs.
Where premises have a liquor licence, the gaming machine permit is obtained from the licensing justices', i.e. the local Magistrates' Court. In all other premises, application is made to the council.
The maximum charge permissible for a game is 30p. Where a machine pays out a combination of cash, gifts and/or tokens, the maximum payout permissible is £5.00 in cash or £8.00 in cash and/or tokens.
There are no age restrictions in force for these machines and therefore children may also play them. Where a machine pays out cash only, the maximum payout permissible is £15.00. 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 to which underage persons cannot gain access.
A licence is not required where a machine is based only on a game of skill (e.g. quiz machines), or is an amusement only machine and, in either case, no money or token is paid out by the machine.
Applications for a permit
We are able to give preliminary advice about the types of premises where they will allow gaming machines and will, if required, send out the appropriate advisory literature and an on-line application form link to you. Each licence is granted for a period of three years.
With regard to machines on premises which have a Justices' on-licence granted under the Licensing Act 1964, application must be made to the local Magistrates' Court for a permit. In all other instances, application should be made to the council. A gaming machines licence is required for any machine which:
There are basically two types of permit: