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Gaming licence

Before you apply

If you wish to operate any of the following then you need to apply for a licence:-

  • adult gaming centre
  • betting track
  • bingo
  • bingo nights
  • casino
  • casino nights
  • club gaming machine permit
  • club gaming permit
  • family entertainment centre
  • prize gaming permit
  • small lotteries
  • unlicensed family entertainment centre

The Gambling Commission was set up under the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate commercial gambling in Great Britain. The Act covers licences and permits for all types of gaming.

Casino nights

We get lots of enquiries from clubs and associations who want to run a casino night to raise funds. We recommend the following:

  • do not charge more than £8 entrance fee
  • the entrance fee must include any additional stakes and no more money can be charged to take part
  • you can charge a lower fee but the stake money and entrance fee must not be more than £8
  • the value of the prizes at the end of the night must remain below £600

Bingo nights

We also get enquiries about holding bingo nights. We recommend the following:

  • games should be for over 18s only
  • no participation fee should be charged
  • the stake limit should be £5 per person, per game
  • you should not exceed £2000 a week in stakes/prizes

If you are a licensed premises you should have gaming included in your operating plan - if you don't you should apply for a variation of licence. More information on this is on the Changing your licence page.

Licensed premises managers hold responsibility for any gambling in the premises. If you are a club the responsible person should be nominated by the club management or committee. All gaming should be carried out in an area where it can be supervised by staff whose duties include the supervision of gaming. The person responsible should also put in place procedures to prevent under-age gambling, for example checking IDs, holding the event in an area restricted to adults.

Poker nights

If you are running a poker night we recommend:

  • individual stakes/limits are not exceeded through side bets, additional raises, re-buys or other ways of increasing the pot. If this is discovered the game should be stopped and the stakes returned to players.
  • keep a record of the number of games played, the number of players and the amount stakes/won to ensure that the individual, daily and weekly stake and prize limits are not exceeded

Related content

  1. Before you apply
  2. Applying for your licence