Legal advice: The Gambling Bill

Related tags Gaming machines Casino

The Gambling Bill may well affect the pub trade. Here's all you need to know about it.By David Clifton of our team of legal experts at London...

The Gambling Bill may well affect the pub trade. Here's all you need to know about it.

By David Clifton of our team of legal experts at London solicitors Joelson Wilson.

You will hardly have failed to notice that on October 18, the Gambling Bill was presented to Parliament. It was greeted in a fairly hysterical fashion by some sections of the press, forcing the government onto its back foot with ministers placing emphasis on the measures proposed to protect children and the vulnerable - including the intended removal of AWP machines from takeaways and mini-cab offices.

There were no surprises. The parliamentary pre-legislative scrutiny process ensured that any controversial elements of the Bill had been examined and toned down before it was published.

  • Casinos

The spotlight has been on the proposals for huge casinos which will each be permitted up to 1,250 Las Vegas-style unlimited prize gaming machines. However, there will not be too many of these appearing around the country and the prohibition on casinos with table gaming areas of less than 500 square metres will mean, to quote the government, that "people won't wake up one day and find that their local shop has become a casino".

It is the size of casino (and the number of its gaming tables) that will determine how many, and what type of, gaming machines it can have.

Betting shops and bingo clubs

Betting shops and bingo clubs will be able to provide machines with maximum prizes of £500, but otherwise the maximum numbers of machines permitted in such premises will not change.


It is proposed that pubs holding a premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003 will have an automatic entitlement to install up to two gaming machines offering a minimum stake of 50p and a maximum prize of £25. However, it will be open to the holder of such a premises licence to apply to the licensing authority for additional machines.

The Bill makes it clear that all pubs providing gaming machines will have to comply with a code of practice to be issued by the Gambling Commission.

The Bill provides for a right of appeal to the magistrates court, and gives the local licensing authority the power to remove the right to provide gaming machines at any time in prescribed circumstances.

Related topics Legislation

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