One of the commonest types of gambling is the use of gaming machines in non-gambling premises like pubs, bars and clubs.

The proprietors will usually need to obtain one of several types of permit to authorise their activities.

Please note that certain types of unlicensed premises, such as fast-food restaurants or minicab offices, are not entitled to apply for permits under the Gambling Act 2005, and therefore may not make gambling facilities (including gaming machines) available for use in their premises. For further information or advice, please contact us:

Licensing
International House
6 Canterbury Crescent
London
SW9 7QE
Telephone: 020 7926 6108
Email: licensing@lambeth.gov.uk

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Licensed premises gaming machine notifications

Certain premises which are subject to premises licences allowing the supply of alcohol are allowed to make one or two gaming machines available for use within their premises. To do this the licence-holder needs to give us notification.

The automatic entitlement is only available to licensed premises that satisfy all of the following requirements:

  • the premises are licensed to supply alcohol, for consumption on those premises
  • the premises contain a bar
  • the premises are not subject to any licence conditions limiting the supply of alcohol to people having meals on the premises.

Gaming machines are categorised according to how much they cost to use and the maximum prize available.

The automatic entitlement allows a maximum of two gaming machines from categories C and D available for use.

Please see our gaming machine categories (PDF 47.17 KB) information sheet for details of the maximum charges and prizes applicable to these categories.

If it is intended to provide three or more gaming machines at a premises, a licensed premises gaming machine permit must be obtained instead.

Premises providing gaming machines must ensure that they comply with the Gambling Commission's Code of Practice for clubs and licensed premises.

Giving a licensed premises gaming machine notification

Notifications can only be given by the holder of the premises licence for the premises to which the notification relates.

Applicants should read the 'licensed premises gaming machine permits and notifications' section of our Statement of Principles (PDF 712.74 KB), for further information on our expectations of notified premises.

The completed application form should be sent to us, together with payment of £50.

If the form has been completed correctly, we will acknowledge receipt of the notification. The holder of the premises licence may then make up to two gaming machines available within the licensed premises until such time as they cease to hold the alcohol licence.

Notifications are subject to a statutory condition, requiring that the holder complies with the Gambling Commission's Code of Practice for clubs and licensed premises.

Continuation of the automatic entitlement

The notification is valid for as long as the notifier continues to hold the premises licence for the venue. It will only lapse if the alcohol licence is transferred to another person, or if the alcohol licence itself lapses.

The notification will also cease to have effect if the alcohol licence is changed, to the point where the premises no longer qualifies for the automatic entitlement (for instance if a condition is added to the licence limiting alcohol sales to people taking meals only).

Notifications are not transferable - any new occupier of the premises who wishes to continue providing gaming machines will need to give a new notification in his own name.

The licensing authority may revoke the automatic entitlement for a particular premises if it is believed that:

  • gaming has taken place on premises in breach of the code of practice or other statutory requirements
  • the premises are mainly used used for gaming
  • allowing the provision of gaming machines to continue would not be consistent with the licensing objectives
  • a gambling-related offence has been committed on the premises.

2. Licensed premises gaming machine permits

Proprietors of certain premises which are subject to premises licences allowing the supply of alcohol may apply for a licensed premises gaming machine permit allowing a number of gaming machines to be made available for use within their premises.

To qualify for a permit, the licensed premises must satisfy the same requirements as for a Licensed premises gaming machine notification except that the number of gaming machines will be three or more - up to a maximum of the number specified in the permit.

If it is only intended to provide one or two gaming machines, a licensed premises gaming machine notification may be more suitable to authorise this.

Applying for a licensed premises gaming machine permit

Applications for permits can only be made by the holder of the premises licence for the premises to which the application relates. All applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

Applicants should read the 'licensed premises gaming machine permits and notifications' section of our Statement of Principles, for further information on our expectations of permit holders.

The completed application form should be sent to the licensing authority, together with payment of the appropriate fee - currently £50.

If the licensing authority have concerns about your application, we will advise you of this and give you an opportunity to make representations. After considering any representations you make, a decision will then be made to either grant your application, to grant a smaller number of machines or a different category than had been sought, or to refuse your application outright.

Where applications are refused or granted for a smaller number/different category, there will be a right of appeal to the Magistrates' Court, within 21 days of notification of the refusal.

No further conditions can be attached to a permit, beyond the statutory condition that is automatically attached requiring that the holder complies with the Gambling Commission's Code of Practice for clubs and licensed premises.

Maintenance of licensed premises gaming machine permits

Licensed premises gaming machine permits are valid for an unlimited duration, but they will lapse if the holder ceases to hold the alcohol licence, or if the alcohol licence itself lapses.

An annual fee (currently £50) is payable for all licensed premises gaming machine permits. The first fee becomes due 30 days after the permit was granted, and then on the anniversary of the grant thereafter. Permits may be revoked if the annual fee is not paid.

The original permit must be kept on the premises to which it relates, and produced for inspection if requested by a police officer, a Gambling Commission enforcement officer or an authorised Lambeth council officer. If lost, stolen or damaged, a duplicate permit can be obtained from the council, but a fee will be payable for this. It will also be necessary to report lost or stolen permits to the police.

If control of the premises and the alcohol licence changes, the permit must be transferred to the new licence-holder. The same application form available above can be used for this.

The permit can be varied to change the number or category of machines authorised. A variation application can be made using the same form as is available above.

Permits can be surrendered if no longer required, by returning the original permit to the council with a note explaining this.

The licensing authority may revoke a permit if it is believed that:

  • gaming has taken place on premises in breach of a permit
  • the premises are mainly used used for making gaming machines available
  • allowing the permit to continue to have effect would not be consistent with the licensing objectives
  • a gambling-related offence has been committed on the premises.

3. Club gaming and club machine permits

Members clubs wishing to provide gaming machines or high-value gaming in their premises, for the exclusive use of members, can apply for one of two types of permit to allow this:

  • club machine permits allow any members club, including commercial clubs, to make up to 3 gaming machines available for use
  • club gaming permits allow 3 gaming machines to be operated, and also allow the club to offer prize gaming without limits on the stakes and prizes (but subject to other restrictions).

They are not available to commercial members clubs - only to clubs operated by and for the benefit of their members.

Clubs that make gaming machines available for use must ensure that they comply with the Gambling Commission's Code of Practice for clubs and licensed premises.

Gaming machines are categorised according to how much they cost to use and the maximum prize available.

Clubs holding one of these permits may make up to three machines from categories B4, C and D available for use. Non-commercial members clubs may instead choose to offer one machine from category B3A and two other machines from the categories above. Please see our gaming machine categories (PDF 47.17 KB) information sheet for details of the maximum charges and prizes applicable to these categories.

Permits can be granted in respect of fixed premises only, and not vehicles or vessels.

Criteria for clubs applying for permits

Any club applying for a permit must satisfy the following criteria:

  • the club must have at least 25 permanent, individual members
  • the club must not be established only to operate for a limited period
  • the club must not be established and conducted wholly or mainly to provide gambling facilities (with the exception of bridge and whist clubs).

In addition, members' clubs applying for club gaming permits must be established and conducted for the benefit of their members, and must not be run as a commercial enterprise.

Applying for a club gaming permit or club machine permit

An application can be made for a permit in respect of any premises occupied by the club for the use of members. Usually, the club secretary (or for commercial clubs, a director or other executive board member) will need to authorise the club's application.

Before completing an application form, we recommend that applicants read the 'club gaming permits and club machine permits' section of our Statement of Principles, for further information on our expectations of permit holders.

The completed application form should be sent to the licensing authority, together with payment of the appropriate fee - currently £50.

Further copies of the completed application form must also be sent to the Gambling Commission and the Metropolitan Police, within seven days of making the application. Either of these bodies may object to your application within a 28-day period.

If the licensing authority have concerns about your application, or if objections have been received, we will hold a hearing to consider your application. A decision will then be made to either grant or refuse your application.

The matters that we will look into include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • the premises will not be used wholly or mainly be children or young persons
  • the club has not previously committed any gambling-related offences or breaches of permits or licences
  • no previous gambling permits held by the club have been revoked in the last 10 years.

Where applications are refused, there will be a right of appeal to the Magistrates' Court, within 21 days of notification of the refusal.

No further conditions can be attached to a permit, beyond the statutory conditions that automatically apply to permits, requiring that:

  • no child or young person is to be allowed to use a category B or C gaming machine
  • the club must comply with the Gambling Commission's Code of Practice for clubs and licensed premises
  • every person participating in gambling must have been a club member (or have applied for membership) for at least 48 hours before participation, or be a bona fide guest of such a member (applies to non-commercial clubs only).

Fast-track applications for clubs with club premises certificates

An alternate application process applies to clubs that hold club premises certificates under the Licensing Act 2003. These clubs are able to make 'fast-track' applications, by completing the relevant section of the application form. Different fees apply to fast-track applications.

Because the structure of the club has already been examined during the application process for the certificate, clubs making use of this provision will not have to send copies of their application form to the Gambling Commission nor the Metropolitan Police, and objections cannot be made against the application by those bodies.

Applications may only be refused if the licensing authority believes that:

  • the club is established or conducted wholly or mainly for gaming (other than bridge or whist)
  • the club is established or conducted wholly or mainly for bridge or whist, and provides facilities for gaming or another kind
  • the club has had a gambling permit cancelled in the previous 10 years.

Any permit granted under the fast-track process will have an unlimited duration, but will lapse if the club premises certificate ceases to have effect. Annual fees will be payable to maintain the permit. For more information, see our Gambling Act 2005 - fees for premises licence applications (PDF 253.91 KB).

Maintenance of club permits

Both types of club permits are valid for 10 years. An application to renew a permit may be made 6 to 12 weeks before it expires.

An annual fee (currently £50) is payable for all club permits. The first fee becomes due 30 days after the permit was granted, and then on the anniversary of the grant thereafter. Permits may be revoked if the annual fee is not paid.

Permits are not transferable, and any new occupier of the club's premises must apply for a new permit.

Permits will also be cancelled if the status of the club changes, or if the club is believed to have committed an offence or breach of a condition relating to gambling, or if the premises is used wholly or mainly by children or young persons.

The original permit must be kept on the premises to which it relates, and produced for inspection if requested by a police officer or a Gambling Commission enforcement officer. If lost, stolen or damaged, a duplicate permit can be obtained from the council, but a fee will be payable for this. It will also be necessary to report lost or stolen permits to the police.

Permits can be surrendered if no longer required, by returning the original permit to the council with a note explaining this.