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Gambling Act FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions about the Gambling Act

Can I have a fruit machine in my cafe?

Generally, no. The Act provides an automatic entitlement for alcohol-licensed premises to have up to two gaming machines but this only applies to premises which have a separate bar. Fruit machines in fish and chip shops, taxi offices and other unlicensed premises will gradually be phased out as their permits expire.

Do I need a licence to play dominoes and cribbage in my pub?

No. Dominoes and cribbage are exempt forms of gaming.

What about point-to-point meetings?

If betting takes place at a point-to-point meeting, then the event becomes licensable under the provisions of 'track betting'. Provided betting takes place on no more than eight days in any calendar year, the event may be authorised by way of an Occasional Use Notice. There is no fee for this but the organiser must have a Betting Operating Licence issued by the Gambling Commission.

Is a licence required to play poker in a pub or private members' club?

No. The Act allows poker to be played in alcohol-licensed premises and members' clubs subject to the following limits:


  • Maximum stake - £5 per player per game.  Maximum combined stakes per premises- £100 per day.
  • Maximum prize - £100 per game (money or other goods)

Members' Club:

  • Maximum stakes - £1,000 per week/£250 per day or £10 per player per game.
  • Maximum prize - £250 per game.

Do we need a licence to play bingo in our village hall?

Not if the proceeds are going to a 'good cause' (i.e. they are not being used for private gain). If this is the case, then the bingo is regarded as non-commercial gaming and is exempt from licensing. However, if any individual involved in organising the bingo benefits financially (i.e. there is private gain), then a licence would be required.

Click here for more details about bingo in village halls

Can I put on bingo in a pub or private members' club?

Yes - bingo may be provided in premises with an on-premises alcohol licence or a club premises certificate without a licence subject to certain restrictions:


  • No participation fee may be charged. 
  •  Maximum stake per player per game is £5. 
  • Total value of stakes and prizes must not exceed £2,000 in any seven day period.

Members Clubs:

  • Maximum participation fee which may be charged is £1 (£3 if a club gaming permit is held).
  • No limit on stakes
  • Total value of stakes and prizes must not exceed £2,000 in any seven day period.

I have an amusement arcade. Do I need a separate licence to offer bingo to my customers?

No. If you operate a licensed Adult Gaming Centre or Family Entertainment Centre or an unlicensed Family Entertainment Centre, you can offer bingo as prize gaming under the authority of your premises licence or permit. No additional licence is required. The following restrictions apply:

  • Maximum stake per game - £1
  • Maximum individual prize per game - £70
  • Maximum total value of prizes per game - £500
  • Maximum total stakes per game - £500
  • Children under 18 are not permitted to play commercial bingo.

I want to hold a raffle at my village fete. Do I need a special licence?

No. Provided the raffle is being held as incidental to a non-commercial event (e.g. a fete, jumble sale etc.) and the proceeds are going to a good cause, a licence would not be required. However, there are certain restrictions

  • No more than £500 may be deducted from the proceeds for prizes.
  • No more than £100 may be deducted for expenses (e.g. purchase/printing of tickets)
  • there can be no 'rollover' of prizes
  • tickets may only be sold at the premises during the event and the result must be announced while the event takes place.

Do I need a licence to run a sweepstake at the office?

No - an office sweepstake is regarded as exempt gaming provided that tickets are sold only to persons working on the premises. None of the proceeds may be used for private gain and must therefore be used for prizes and to pay for any reasonable expenses incurred in organising the sweepstake.

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