13th December 2018

Gaming Machines Guide for Pubs

Gambling in all forms has been in the news throughout 2018. From Parliament debating a maximum spend on gaming machines, to the saturation of bookmakers sponsoring sports. Gambling appears to be everywhere and the ease of access, and exposure to gambling is a major problem. Greater football advertising, the rise of internet gaming sites and in play bets have all played a role in this. Not to forget, the humble pub ‘bandit’ and gaming machines.

The number of visits to licensed premises by licensing authorities has also increased over the past few years. This has highlighted the fact that a surprising number of tenants, don’t have the correct permissions to hold their gaming/gambling machines.

Gaming Machines Guide for Pubs

As such, now is the perfect time for a quick guide on how to responsibly hold gambling machines within your Pub, whilst making sure you have all the legal requirements to do so.

What are my entitlements?

When it comes to qualified alcohol licensed premises, you’re entitled to provide two gaming machines which are within category C or D, once notifying the local authority. This is known as Automatic Entitlement.

Category C – Machines within category C are often known as fruit machines, one armed bandits or AWPs (Amusement with Prize Machines). More often that not, most tenants gaming machines are classed as category C.

There are five different combinations of stake and prize for the various types of category D machine:

  Stake Prize
D money prize 10p £5
D non-money prize (other than crane grab machine) 30p £8
D non-money prize
(crane grab machine)
£1 £50
D combined money and non-money prize
(other than coin pusher or penny falls machines)
10p £8 (of which no more than £5 may be a money prize)
D combined money and non-money prize
(coin pusher or penny falls machine)
20p £20 (of which no more than £10 may be a money prize)

If you want to have two machines or more within your own premises, you must apply for a Gaming Machine Permit from your local authority. From this, the authority will consider the application which has been sent to them and issue a permit if successful.

Changing your Licence Holder

If, by any chance a licence holder of a particular alcohol licence needs to cease their ownership, a renotification is required due to any transfer of licence.

NOTE: This doesn’t apply if there is a change to the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) or the Designated Premises manager (DPM).

If a local authority is concerned about the suitability of the premises/licence holder or anything else for that matter, they can remove any automatic entitlement.

Staying Within the Lawno 18

  • For all machines which are within your premises, they must be sourced and maintained by a Gambling Commission licensed supplier.
  • If you’re approached to site a gaming machines, you must obtain the details from the machine suppliers and their operating licence
  • You can contact the Gambling Commission or visit the registered licence holder to check on licensed machine suppliers, or with any queries that you may have.
  • If your machine is supplied by an unlicensed supplier or in excess of your entitlement, this can affect your own alcohol licence and potentially lead to prosecution. In addition to this, it is an offence to make your own machine available to the public without a licence.

Machine Requirements

The business owner, has many obligations to ensure that their machines meet requirements in terms of information displayed on a machine namely:

  • Machine is within the category C or D.
  • Return to player percentage.
  • No players under the age of 18 (Category C only).
  • ID plate must be shown (Machines after 2007).
  • Stake to play and maximum pay-out.
  • Gambling awareness – signposting for gambling support services.

Social Responsibility

For all machine gaming supplier, they take their gambling licensing objectives very seriously. All licence holders and tenants can help massively by keeping crime out of gambling, protecting children and other vulnerable people from harm and also by ensuring gambling is fair and open.


As a licensee or pub manager, you should:

  • Ensure gaming machines are located in a position which bar and floor staff can monitor.
  • Check the age of those who appear to be underage in the same manner as people attempting to purchase alcohol.
  • Consider raising awareness by using a Challenge 25 policy.
  • Only accept ID which contains a photograph and from an official body or authority, EG. Drivers Licence, Passport or a proof of age card, such as the PASS card from the national Proof of Age Standards Scheme.
  • If, by any chance, a child or a young person attempts to gamble on a category C machine, ask them to stop. If they fail to do so, your next action is to report it to the local authority or the Police.
  • Consider your own age verification testing regime.
  • Machines mustn’t be positioned near any ATM or cash machines.
  • Be aware of any significant increase in customer spends or even behaviours which may indicate an issue with problem solving.

It is highly recommended revisiting all of the above to make sure you cover all grounds for when it comes to gaming machines and that you are aware of how to reduce the chances of people behaving incorrectly around gambling.

To read more information about the gambling commission please visit their website, or view their Gaming Machines quick guide PDF.

< Back to Blog