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Legal Q&A: the dos and don'ts of gaming machines in family pubs

By PopplestonAllen

- Last updated on GMT

It is an offence to allow anyone under the age of 18 to gamble on a category C gaming machine
It is an offence to allow anyone under the age of 18 to gamble on a category C gaming machine

Related tags: Gaming machines, Slot machine

Should a publican put a gaming machines in his family-friendly pub? Legal experts Poppleston Allen explain the legal position.

Question:

I would like to introduce some adult gaming machines in my pub, but I run a family-friendly business and I am not sure whether I can provide gaming machines on a premises that allows children. Is this a problem?

Answer:

Premises licensed for on-sales of alcohol are automatically entitled to provide up to two gaming machines of category C or D and there is no requirement for the premises to be adult-only. Before exercising this right you will need to notify the licensing authority and pay an administrative fee of £50.

Although children can access the premises, it is an offence to allow anyone under the age of 18 to gamble on a category C gaming machine (£100 jackpot).

There is also a code of practice issued by the Gambling Commission in respect of gaming machines in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence which you must comply with.

Amongst other measures, the code provides that you must have appropriate procedures in place to prevent underage access to gaming machines, in the same way you would for alcohol sales.

The code also makes provisions for the location of machines. Your staff should be able to supervise their use, so keeping them within sight of the bar is advised. If you have any ATMs on site then you must also ensure that the gaming machines are positioned such that customers have to cease gambling in order to access an ATM.

It is worth bearing in mind that you may be subject to test purchasing in respect of gaming machines, so ensuring staff are diligent and well-versed in your procedures may save you from unwanted enforcement action and reputational damage.

Related topics: Licensing law

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