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Gambling and Betting Licences - More Information

1. Overview

The Gambling Act 2005 regulates most forms of gambling and betting in the UK. If you want to provide gaming or gaming machines, provide facilities for betting or run a lottery, you will - in most cases - require a licence, permit or registration.



The Act regulates all gambling in Great Britain except the National Lottery and spread betting.

The Act created a new regulator - The Gambling Commission (replacing the Gaming Board)

The regulatory framework is based on a system of licences, permits and registrations.

More detailed guidance is contained in our 'Information for Applicants'  booklet which can be downloaded by clicking on the icon on the right.


Contact Details for Licensing Team


Telephone: 01237 428700

2. The Licensing Objectives

  • Preventing gambling from being a source of crime and disorder, being associated with crime and disorder or being used to support crime;
  • Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • Protecting children and vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

3. Licensing Functions

3.1 The Licensing Authority will:

  • License premises for gambling activities
  • Consider notices for temporary use of premises for gambling
  • Grant permits for gaming and gaming machines in clubs and miners' welfare institutes
  • Regulate gaming and gaming machines in licensed premises
  • Grant permits for adult gaming centres and family entertainment centres
  • Grant permits for prize gaming (e.g. bingo)
  • Consider occasional use notices for betting tracks
  • Register small society lotteries

3.2 Section.153 of the Act requires licensing authorities to aim to authorise the use of premises for gambling in so far as it is in accordance with:

  • Commission guidance
  • Relevant codes of practice (issued under s.24 of the Act)
  • The licensing objectives
  • The authority's Statement of Licensing Principles (Licensing Policy).

4. The Licensing Framework

The Act creates three categories of licence:

  • Operating licence
  • Personal licence
  • Premises licence

4.1 Operating Licences

These will be issued by the Gambling Commission and will authorise individuals and companies to conduct specified types of gambling or gambling facilities. Types of licence which may be issued are:

  • Casino operating licence
  • Bingo operating licence
  • General betting operating licence
  • Pool betting operating licence (e.g. the Tote)
  • Betting intermediary operating licence
  • Gaming machine general operating licence (for adult gaming centre or family entertainment centre)
  • Gaming machine technical operating licence (for machine manufacturers)
  • Gambling software operating licence
  • Lottery operating licence

The Gambling Commission can attach conditions to Operating Licences.

4.2 Personal Licences

These will also be issued by the Gambling Commission. It is a mandatory condition of an Operating Licence that at least one person holds a management office and that person must hold a Personal Licence.

The purpose of the Personal Licence is to ensure that individuals who control gambling facilities are fit and proper persons.

Personal Licences last indefinitely and are not transferable.

(Some small scale operators will be exempted from the requirement to hold a Personal Licence.  In general, any business which has less than three management ('qualifying') positions will be regarded as a small scale operator).

4.3 Premises Licences

Premises Licences will be granted by Licensing Authorities for the following facilities:

  • Bingo halls
  • Betting premises (including betting shops, betting tracks etc)
  • Adult gaming centres (higher value gaming machines)
  • Family entertainment centres (lower value gaming machines)

Generally, Premises Licences may only be granted to a person with a relevant Operating Licence granted by the Gambling Commission.

Licensing authorities have the power to attach conditions to Premises Licences.

A Premises Licences lasts indefinitely.  An annual fee is payable to the Licensing Authority to maintain the licence.

You can download an application form by clicking on the appropriate icon on the right.


Casino licences may only be granted in areas designated by the Secretary of State.

Torridge is not a permitted area so we are unable to issue a premises licence for a casino.

4.4 Permits

Licensing Authorities will issue permits for the following lower risk gambling activities:

  • prize gaming (e.g. bingo)
  • unlicensed Family Entertainment Centres (i.e. those with lower value gaming machines)
  • gaming machines ("fruit" or "slot" machines).

The Gambling Act creates seven categories of gaming machines with varying levels of stakes and payouts. Restrictions on the number and type of machines will apply depending on the type of gambling carried out at a premises.

4.5 Registrations

Licensing authorities have the responsibility for registering Small Society Lotteries (see separate web page on Lotteries).

We will aim to issue your licence, permit or registration within 6 working days of receipt of a valid application.

5. Fees

The Act allows licensing authorities to set their fees at a level which enables them to recover the full costs (direct and indirect) of the licensing function under the Act.  The Council's fees have been set on this basis.

See fees and charges at Fees & Charges

6. Licensing Authorities

The Gambling Act delegates most decisions relating to Premises Licences to the Licensing Committee (and thereafter to officers) with the exception of:

  • A resolution not to issue casino licences,
  • Functions relating to the Licensing Policy,
  • Setting fees (although some discretion may be allowed)

These decisions must be made by full Council.

7. Licensing Policy

7.1 Section 349 of the Act requires all Licensing Authorities to prepare and publish a Licensing Policy (the 'Statement of Principles') setting out the principles it will apply when carrying out its functions. The Policy must be reviewed at least every three years.

7.2 Licensing Authorities must consult the following bodies on their Policy:

  • Police
  • Persons who represent the interests of persons carrying on gambling businesses in the authority's area
  • Persons who represent the interests of persons who are likely to be affected by gambling

7.3 The Policy has four main purposes:

  • To advise members of the Licensing Committee (and other elected Members)
  • To inform applicants
  • To inform residents
  • To inform a court at appeal

The Council reviewed its Statement of Licensing Principles in 2018.  The revised Statement was formally adopted by full Council on 10th December 2018 and will remain in force until 30th January 2022.  The revised Statement can be viewed on this webpage.

8. Responsible Authorities and Interested Parties

The Gambling Act establishes two groups of persons who can make representations about applications:  'Responsible Authorities' and 'Interested Parties'.


8.1 Responsible Authorities

The Act defines Responsible Authorities as:

  • A Licensing Authority
  • The Gambling Commission
  • Police
  • Fire and Rescue Service
  • Local planning authority
  • An authority which has functions in relation to pollution of the environment and health and safety
  • A body responsible for the protection of children from harm
  • H M Customs and Revenue
  • Any other person prescribed by Regulations

8.2 Interested Parties

The Gambling Act states that, for a person to be regarded as an Interested Party, they must

  • Live sufficiently close to the premises to be likely to be affected by the authorised activities
  • Have business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities, or
  • Represent persons in either of the above groups.

Licensing Authorities must include a section in their Policy which sets out how they will determine if a person is considered to be an Interested Party.

8.3 Representations

Representations must relate to one or more of the licensing objectives.  The Licensing Authority can make representations itself.

8.4 Hearings

If the Licensing Authority receives (or makes) a relevant representation, the application must be considered at a hearing by a sub-Committee of the Licensing Committee.

There is a right of appeal to the Magistrates' court.  An appeal must be made within 21 days of notification of the licensing authority's decision.

9. Licence Conditions

Conditions can be attached to Premises Licences by the Licensing Authority.

There will be three types of condition:

  • Mandatory (imposed by statute)
  • Default (will automatically be applied unless Licensing Authority decides to remove)
  • Conditions applied by the Licensing Authority.

10. Review of Premises Licence

The Gambling Act builds in regulatory protection by way of the review process.

Responsible Authorities, Interested Parties and the Licensing Authority itself can call for a review of a Premises Licence if licence conditions are contravened or the licensing objectives are being undermined.

There is a right of appeal to the Magistrates' Court.

11. Temporary Use Notices

The Act makes provision for temporary use of premises for gambling by way of Temporary Use Notices.

Temporary Use Notices may only be granted to persons who hold an Operating Licence granted by the Gambling Commission.

Maximum permitted period for temporary use for any one premises is 21 days in any year.

12. Occasional Use Notices

An Occasional Use Notice may be used to authorise betting on a track for up to eight days in any calendar year.

The definition of 'track' covers not just permanent racecourses and dog tracks but any land on which a race or other sporting event takes place.  This includes, for example, agricultural land on which point-to-point meetings take place.  The person giving the Notice must be responsible for the administration of the event or be the owner/occupier of the track.

Any person wishing to provide betting facilities on a track under an Occasional Use Notice must hold a Betting Operators Licence from the Gambling Commission.

There is no fee for an Occasional Use Notice.

You can download an Occasional use Notice by clicking on the appropriate icon on the right.

13. Exempt Gaming

The Act provides certain exemptions for gaming which is provided on a not-for-profit basis.  These are:

  • private gaming (gaming which takes place in a private dwelling or residence)
  • private betting at home and in the workplace (e.g. an office sweepstake)
  • non-commercial gaming such as gaming to raise money for good causes (e.g. bingo for church funds)
  • non-commercial betting
  • low-level gaming provided in alcohol-licensed premises such as pubs and clubs.  This is subject to the following conditions:
    • (i)  facilities must be for equal chance gaming only
    • (ii) stakes and prizes must not exceed any limits specified by law
    • (iii) no amount may be deducted from amounts staked or won
    • (iv) no charge may be made to participate
    • (v)  gaming must not take place on more than one set of premises
    • (vi) children under 18 must not participate

(More detailed information on the various licences, permits and application procedures is contained in the "Information for Applicants" guidance which can be downloaded from this page).

Further information can also be found on the Gambling Commision Website following the link on the right of this page.

14. Gambling FAQ's

Please Click here for frequently asked questions about the Gambling Act.

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