Kevin Holleran, director of Nexus Gaming Limited, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment at Birmingham Crown Court on 3 October.
It is the first imprisonment under the Gambling Act from a Gambling Commission prosecution.
Holleran was also disqualified from acting as a director for five years and ordered to pay £120,000 towards Gambling Commission costs.
The “Skillette” gaming machine invited players to use their skill to stop a wheel spinning on their chosen number, to win prizes at ratios similar to roulette.
Holleran claimed that he did not need an operating licence because the machines were not gaming machines.
However, an investigation launched by the Gambling Commission into the machines revealed that the machines were by their nature gaming machines and contained a secret computer mechanism to force losing results and directly cheat the player of their winnings. The Commission found that at least 350 illegal machines had been supplied to 200 commercial premises across the UK.
Holleran pleaded guilty to four charges of conniving in cheating at gambling under sections 42 and 341 of the Gambling Act and seven charges of conniving in the supply and maintenance of a number of ‘Skillette’ machines under sections 243 and 341 of the Act.
Nick Tofiluk, director of regulatory operations for the Gambling Commission, said: “This case demonstrates the Gambling Commission’s resolve in pursuing cases where criminals profit from the illegal supply of gaming machines.
“Mr. Holleran is paying the price for persisting in supplying hundreds of ‘Skillette’ machines despite the Commission making its concerns clear.”
The Gambling Commission is reminding owners of pubs, clubs and arcades that they are likely to be committing an offence if they site ‘Skillette’ machines.
Variants of the ‘Skillette’ include Grand Prix Racer, Stop the Clock, Alien Invasion and Skill Stop Roulette.
Philip Kolvin QC, who represented the Gambling Commission in this case, said: “The Gambling Commission is an effective national regulator and the case demonstrates the great importance for operators of co-operating in a frank and open manner with Commission investigations.”