Legal Q&A: Betting and gaming issues

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Legal Q&A: Betting and gaming issues

Related tags: Slot machine, Gambling commission

This week's legal Q&A focuses on betting in pubs and information on gaming machines.

Betting in pubs

Q:​ I own a pub in Aberdeen and, recently, I had a rather traumatic experience with a visit by officers of the Gambling Commission, the police and the local council. They were raising awareness regarding betting in pubs. I haven’t allowed bookies to operate from my pub but I have heard rumours that they sometimes do. Is this allowed?

A: The simple answer is no. Commercial betting in pubs is not permitted, indeed, your premises licence could be at risk, under the crime and disorder objective, if you permit bookies to operate from your pub. Bookmakers can leave betting slips in your premises for customers to complete but that is about as far as it goes, and any other involvement by you is likely to be illegal.

Stake and prize limits for equal chance gaming

Q:​ I read in the trade press that there have been a number of recent cases of breaches in the stake and prize limits for poker in pubs in the north-west of England. Can you remind me of the limits?

A: For all equal-chance gaming, such as poker, a person may not stake more than £5 in any one game. You cannot charge customers for participating in the poker, nor take a levy or rake from the stake. All the money must go back to the players as prizes.

With poker, the aggregate amount that can be staked on any day on games must not exceed £100 in total, and the maximum amount or value of any prize to be won on any game of poker cannot exceed £100.

Information on gaming machines

Q:​ One of my regulars is a real one-armed bandit enthusiast. He even researches specific machines online. He has told me that my gaming machines should have information on them as to how much money the machine, on average, returns to the player. He called it ‘RTP’, or ‘Return to Player’. I cannot see it on my machines. Is it a requirement?

A: Yes, your gaming machine should have the details of the Return to Player percentage. It will likely be on a plate attached to the machine, or on a sticker. Sometimes it can be found within the help screen.

The machines should also display whether it is a Category C or D, and if it is a Category C that no under-18s can play. Whether C or D, it should have a sticker signposting where the player
can obtain gambling support services, for example from GamCare.

It is, technically, your responsibility to ensure your machines comply with the requirement. However, if you have any concerns, speak to your machine supplier.

Related topics: Licensing law

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