Legal

Illegal gambling machines siting

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Gaming machines, Metropolitan police service, Slot machine

Illegal gambling machines siting
You may have seen news recently about clubs being prosecuted for illegally siting gaming machines in contravention of the Gambling Act 2005.

The London Borough of Islington, as part of a joint operation with the Metropolitan Police, seized illegally sited gaming machines in April and December last year. The owners of the club appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court in May 2015 and pleaded guilty to two offences under the act of allowing the premises to be used for making gaming machines available for use.

They received a £1,000 fine for the offences, with £600 in costs awarded and, in addition, forfeiture order was made for the machines, gaming slips, the paraphernalia and the money found in the machines.

In another prosecution, the London Borough of Haringey, again supported by the Met Police and, this time, the Gambling Commission, seized illegally sited gaming machines in November 2014 from a snooker club. The club owner appeared at Tottenham Magistrates’ Court in April 2015 and pleaded guilty to offences of making the gaming machines available for use. He was fined £2,500 and had to pay £1,423 in costs and, again, a forfeiture order was made for the machines.

Here’s a timely reminder and top tips to ensure your gaming machines are authorised to be legally made available in your pub or bar.

You must either:

  • Have made a notification to the local licensing authority for the right to make available one or two category C or D gaming machines
  • Or apply to the licensing authority for a licensing premises gaming machine permit for permission to site three or more machines in your premises. You must specify the number of category C and number of D machines in the application and the numbers are endorsed on the permit

The fees which must be paid:

  • You must pay £50 to notify the licensing authority for one or two machines. There is no annual fee
  • Licensed premises gaming machine permits incur an application fee of £150 and annual fee of £50. If you do not pay the annual fee, the licensing authority will revoke your permit

Transferring the permissions when you take over a pub or bar:

  • You cannot transfer a notification. If you take over premises and apply to transfer the alcohol premises licence, you must make a new notification as new premises licence holder and pay £50
  • Licensing premises gaming machine permits can be transferred at the same time as the premises licence. You have to pay £25

What happens if I want to change the number of machines in my pub?

  • If you have one machine and you want another, you do not need to do anything as you can rely on your existing notification
  • If you have two machines and want more, you must apply for a licensed premises gaming machine permit
  • If you have a licensing premises gaming machine permit you can vary the machine numbers by making an application to the licensing authority

What happens if I don’t have permission for all or some machines?

  • You can be prosecuted, for example see above
  • It’s also worth mentioning that with alcohol-licensed premises the authorities could take action under the Licensing Act 2003 to review your premises licence under the crime and disorder objective. For the authorities, this is a quicker, more cost effective approach than a prosecution.

Remind me of the machine categories:

  • Category C machines have a maximum stake of £1 and prize £100;
  • Category D have various stake and prize limits, pending on the machine type, from a stake of 10p to maximum prize of £50.

Related topics: Licensing law

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