A question I have been asked a lot is whether gaming machines are allowed on licensed premises following the updated Covid-19 rules and guidance.
Gaming machines are permitted at your licensed venues provided you have the relevant permissions in place.
You should think carefully about the use of gaming machines indoors and whether they are able to be played within the remit of the Covid guidelines.
You should make sure the appropriate risk assessment has taken place with consideration given to social distancing, customers wearing face masks and cleaning of the machines.
Location and layout
In line with social distancing requirements, you will likely have had to re-adjust the layout of the tables and chairs in your venue.
Make sure you consider the locations of your machines too. Don’t forget the Code of Practice for gaming machines in alcohol licensed premises – a copy of this can be found on the Gambling Commission website.
Of note is the specific code which requires someone who wishes to take cash from an ATM to cease gambling to do so. The exact distance is not specified, however the further apart you can locate the ATM and gaming machines from each other, the better.
Supervision of machines is also a requirement. Machines must be located in such a way that they can be supervised by staff (whose duties include said supervision) or by other methods such as CCTV. This is important as correct supervision will help to prevent under 18’s attempting to play on the category C machines.
Check number and type
Lastly, don’t forget that the Gambling Act 2005 provides rights of entry and inspection to authorised persons, which includes local authority licensing staff, in respect of premises licensed for alcohol. The Gambling Act 2005 permits an authorised person to:
- Inspect any part of the premises
- Question any person on the premises
- Require access to any written or electronic record which relates to the reason for entry ,such as requesting to see a copy of the Licensed Premises Gaming Machine Permit (LPGMP)
- Remove or retain anything if they reasonably believe that it is evidence of an offence being committed under the Gambling Act 2005, or a breach of a term or condition of a licence issued under the Act.
The officer can check that your provision of gaming machines is in compliance with the permissions you have in place. They will have also checked that you are complying with the Code of practice for gaming machines in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence.
You should also check that you have the correct number and type of machines at your premises along with a copy of the relevant permit available on site.
For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website