2 Licensing Requirements

2.2The 3 Licensing Objectives
2.3The Licensing Framework
2.4Achieving Compliance with the Act
2.5Operating Licences
2.6What the Commission Expects from Applican s for Licences
2.7Personal Licences
2.8Premises Licences
2.9Premises Licence Conditions
2.10Conditions and Authorisations that Attach Automatically to Premises Licences by Virtue of Provisions on the Face of the Act
2.11Primary Gambling Activity (PGA)
2.12In the Act, the Meaning of ‘Premises’…
2.13Division of Premises and Access Between Premises
2.14The Gambling Commission
2.15Regulatory Sanctions
2.17Breaches of Licences
2.18Summary of Offences Under the Gambling Act 2005
2.19Liquor Licence
2.20Bingo in Pubs & Clubs
2.21Defining Clubs and Alcohol Licensed Premises
2.22Entertainment & Music Licences
2.23TV Licensing

2.1 Background

Bingo Games

Cash bingo is the main type of bingo played in commercial bingo premises. Prize Bingo is also offered, predominately as interval games. The holder of a bingo operating licence will be able to offer any type of bingo game, whether cash or prize. This means that only premises with a bingo premises licence, or a 2005 Act large casino premises licence (where the licence permits the operator to offer casino games, bingo and betting) will be able to offer bingo in all its forms.  

Gambling Act 2005 

The Gambling Act 2005 (‘the Act’) contains the regulatory system to govern the provision of all gambling in Great Britain including the National Lottery (from October 2013) but not spread betting, which remains the responsibility of the Financial Services Authority. The Gambling Act received Royal Assent on 7 April 2005 and came in to force on 1st September 2007. 

Summary of the Act 

Gambling is unlawful in Great Britain, unless permitted by: 

a) the measures contained in the Act 

b) the measures contained in the National Lottery Act 1993, or pursuant to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. 


Two comprehensive offences are established by the Act: providing facilities for gambling or using premises for gambling, in either case without the appropriate permission. Such permission may come from a licence, permit, or registration granted in accordance with the Act or from an exemption given by the Act. Where authority to provide facilities for gambling is granted, it is subject to varying degrees of regulation, depending on the type of gambling, the means by which it is conducted, and the people by whom and to whom it is offered.


The Gambling Commission (the Commission) is the unified regulator for gambling in Great Britain. 


The Gambling Commission has responsibility for granting operating and personal licences for commercial gambling operators and personnel working in the industry. The Act sets out different types of operating licence that cover the full range of commercial gambling activities conducted in Great Britain. It also makes provision for the Commission to have powers of entry and inspection to regulate gambling, with safeguards for those subject to the powers. 


Licensing authorities grant licences for gambling premises (premises licence) within their area.  

2.2 The 3 Licensing Objectives 


The Gambling Commission (the Commission) is the unified regulator for gambling in Great Britain. 

  1. Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime
  2. Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  3. Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

The Commission has an overriding obligation to pursue and have regard to the objectives, and to permit gambling so far as it thinks is reasonably consistent with them. 

Further details of these objectives are as follows: 

Objective 1

Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime 


The Commission play a leading role in preventing gambling from being a source of crime. It maintains rigorous licensing procedures that aim to prevent criminals from providing facilities for gambling, or being associated with providing such facilities. The Act provides the Commission with powers to investigate the suitability of applicants for operating and personal licences, and others relevant to the application. This will provide the Commission with the power to make enquiries about and investigate those who are involved in the control of a company or the provision of gambling. In considering applications for operating and personal licences the Commission will, in particular, take a serious view of any offences involving dishonesty committed by applicants or persons relevant to the application. 


As applicants for premises licences will have to hold an operating licence from the Commission before the premises licence can be issued, licensing authorities will not need to investigate the suitability of an applicant. If during the course of considering a premises licence application, or at any other time, the licensing authority receives information that causes it to question the suitability of the applicant to hold an operating licence; these concerns will be brought to the attention of the Commission. 


Among other matters, licensing authorities will consider the location of premises in the context of this licensing objective. If an application for a licence or permit is received in relation to premises that are in an area noted for particular problems with organised crime, for example, licensing authorities will consider what (if any) controls might be appropriate to prevent those premises becoming a source of crime. These might include conditions being put on the licence, such as a requirement for door supervisors. 


Regulatory issues arising from the prevention of disorder are likely to focus almost exclusively on premises licensing, rather than on operating licences. (Although if there are persistent or serious disorder problems that an operator could or should do more to prevent, the licensing authority could bring this to the attention of the Commission so that it can consider the continuing suitability of the operator to hold an operating licence.) 


Local authorities are experienced in making judgements in relation to the suitability of premises, particularly those for which they have responsibilities under the Licensing Act 2003, in which context they have wider powers to also take into account measures to prevent nuisance. 


In relation to preventing disorder, licensing authorities have the ability under section 169 of the Act to attach additional conditions to premises licences, and are entitled to include a requirement for door supervision, as provided for in section 178 of the Act. If a person employed on door supervision would be required to hold a licence issued by the Security Industry Authority (SIA), that requirement will have force as though it were a condition on the premises licence. 


Local authorities will note that in the case of gambling premises licences, disorder is intended to mean activity that is more serious and disruptive than mere nuisance. Factors to consider in determining whether a disturbance was serious enough to constitute disorder would include whether police assistance was required and take the views of its lawyers before determining what action to take in circumstances in which disorder may be a factor. 

Objective 2

Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way  


The Commission is concerned to ensure that not only is gambling fair in the way it is played, but also that the rules are transparent to players and they know what to expect. It achieves this by working to ensure that: 

a) operating and personal licences are issued only to those who are suitable to offer gambling facilities or work in the industry; 

b) easily understandable information is made available by operators to players about, for example: the rules of the game, the probability of losing or winning, and the terms and conditions on which business is conducted; 

c) the rules are fair; 

d) advertising is not misleading; 

e) the results of events and competitions on which commercial gambling takes place are made public; 

f) machines, equipment and software used to produce the outcome of games meet standards set by the Commission and operate as advertised. 


As applicants for premises licences will have to hold an operating licence from the Commission before the premises licence can be issued, licensing authorities will not need to investigate the suitability of an applicant. If during the cGenerally, the Commission would not expect the licensing authorities to become concerned with ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way as this will be a matter for either the management of the gambling business, and therefore subject to the operating licence, or will be in relation to the suitability and actions of an individual and therefore subject to the personal licence. If, however, licensing authorities suspect that gambling is not being conducted in a fair and open way it may be brought to the attention of the Commission so that it can consider the continuing suitability of the operator to hold an operating licence or of an individual to hold a personal licence. 

Objective 3

Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling  


With limited exceptions, the intention of the Gambling Act is that children and young persons should not be permitted to gamble and should be prevented from entering those gambling premises which are adult-only environments. The objective refers to protecting children from being ‘harmed or exploited by gambling’. That means preventing them from taking part in gambling and for there to be restrictions on advertising so that gambling products are not aimed at children or advertised in such a way that makes them particularly attractive to children, excepting Category D gaming machines. 


Over 18 machine areas within bingo clubs that admit under-18s must be separated by a barrier with prominently displayed notices stating that under-18s are not allowed in that area and with adequate supervision in place to ensure that children and young people are not able to access these areas or the category B or C machines. Supervision may be done either by placing the terminals within the line of sight of an official of the operator or via monitored CCTV. 


Under the Act, children and young persons (anyone up to the age of 18) cannot be employed in providing any facilities for gambling on bingo premises, and children (under 16) cannot be employed, in any capacity, at a time when facilities for playing bingo are being offered. However, young persons, aged 16 and 17, may be employed in bingo premises (while bingo is being played), provided the activities on which they are employed are not connected with the gaming or gaming machines. 


Children and young people are allowed into bingo premises; however, they are not permitted to participate in the bingo and if category B or C machines are made available for use these must be separated from areas where children and young people are allowed. Most bingo operators in Great Britain choose to exclude all under 18s from entry to their clubs. 


Test purchasing is one method by which the Commission or Licensing Authorities may, in England and Wales, measure the compliance of licensed operators, or groups of licensed operators, with aspects of the Gambling Act 2005. The Commission encourages operators to manage the business risk associated with both underage access to premises and permitting a young person to gamble. Where an operator takes measures to do this, such as commissioning a third party to test the effectiveness of their policies and procedures, and where the results of the tests are shared with the Gambling Commission they will be less inclined to conduct their own test purchasing. 


The Act does not seek to prohibit particular groups of adults from gambling in the same way that it prohibits children. The Commission does not seek to define ‘vulnerable persons’, but it does for regulatory purposes assume that this group includes people who gamble more than they want to; people who gamble beyond their means; and people who may not be able to make informed or balanced decisions about gambling due to mental health needs, learning disability or substance misuse relating to alcohol or drugs. 


Licensing authorities will consider, in relation to particular premises, whether any special considerations apply in relation to the protection of vulnerable persons. Any such considerations need to be balanced against the authority’s objective to aim to permit the use of premises for gambling. 

2.3 The Licensing Framework 

The Gambling Act 2005 provides for three categories of licence: 

  1. Operating licences (issued by Gambling Commission) 
  2. Personal licences (issued by Gambling Commission) 
  3. Premises licences (issued by local Licensing Authority) 

2.4 Achieving Compliance with the Act 


Regulation of gambling in Great Britain is achieved through a variety of measures established under the Act. These include: 

a) general regulations attached to all licences made by the Secretary of State or Scottish Ministers, including mandatory and default licence conditions, 

b) conditions attached to the operating or personal licences (attached by the Gambling Commission) or conditions attached to the premises licences imposed by the local licensing authorities, 

  • they may attach automatically, having been set out on the face of the Gambling Act 

c) codes of practice from the Commission; 

d) guidance from the Commission; 

e) conditions placed on licences of a particular class, or they may be specific to a particular licence. 

2.5 Operating Licences 

Bingo Games

Cash bingo is the main type of bingo played in commercial bingo premises. Prize Bingo is also offered, Individuals and companies who intend to provide facilities for certain types of gambling must obtain a bingo operating licence from the Gambling Commission. 


Cash bingo is the main type of bingo played in commercial bingo premises. Prize Bingo is also offered, Individuals and companies who intend to provide facilities for certain types of gambling must obtain a bingo operating licence from the Gambling Commission. 


Cash bingo is the main type of bingo played in commercial bingo premises. Prize Bingo is also offered, Individuals and companies who intend to provide facilities for certain types of gambling must obtain a bingo operating licence from the Gambling Commission. 


Conditions covering a range of matters may be attached to operating licences. The Commission’s powers are wide. A condition could, for example, contain restrictions on the number of premises that may be operated or minimum requirements for staffing levels. In relation to particular categories of licence, conditions could cover the display of rules or the provision of information to customers. The Act provides that the Secretary of State may impose conditions on operating licences of a specified description. At the date of this publication the Secretary of State has done so only in respect of the level of participation fees and money prizes in prize bingo. Therefore, it generally falls to the Commission to determine what licence conditions are necessary, both for particular categories of licence and, where appropriate, for particular licensees. Supporting the licence conditions are the codes of practice (see LCCP section C1).The Commission published the latest version of its ‘Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice’ (‘the LCCP’) in January 2020. 


Cash bingo is the main type of bingo played in commercial bingo premises. Prize Bingo is also offered, Individuals Breach of an operating licence condition gives rise to a criminal offence (as the result of the fact that unauthorised gambling is taking place). The Commission also has a range of administrative penalties available to it, separate from taking criminal proceedings. These include warnings, unlimited fines and suspension or revocation of the licence. The Commission has also consulted on its policy in relation to financial penalties (under section 121 of the Act) and published a ‘Statement of Principles for Licensing and Regulation’, (see 2.24) as part of the Licensing, Compliance and Enforcement policy. Some provisions of the Commission’s principal code of practice are designated as ‘social responsibility’ provisions and breaches of these carry the same weight and potential penalties as breaches of licence conditions. Failure to comply with an ordinary code of practice provision will not be a criminal offence, but it may be taken into account in considering licence breaches or criminal prosecutions. 


Operating licences are not transferable. However, there are provisions in the Act which deal with circumstances in which control of a company changes hands.

2.6 What the Commission Expects from Applicants for Licences 


The Commission expects applicants for licences to: 

a) be able to demonstrate that they can meet the Commission’s suitability assessment; 

b) ensure that the activities they plan to carry out will be conducted in a manner which minimises the risks to the licensing objectives; 

c) work with the Commission in an open and co-operative way; 

d) disclose to the Commission anything which the Commission would reasonably expect to know. 


The Commission expects licensees to conduct their gambling operations in a way that does not put the licensing objectives at risk. The Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice are designed to ensure this. 


The Commission also expects those holding licences, including, as appropriate, personal licences, to:  

a) conduct their business with integrity; 

b) act with due care, skill and diligence; 

c) take care to organise and control their affairs responsibly and effectively and have adequate systems and controls to minimise the risks to the licensing objectives; 

d) maintain adequate financial resources; 

e) have due regard to the interests of customers and treat them fairly 

f) have due regard to the information needs of customers and communicate with them in a way that is clear, not misleading, and allows them to make a properly informed judgment about whether to gamble; 

g) manage conflicts of interest fairly. 

2.7 Personal Licences 


One of the mandatory conditions that the Commission has placed on operating licences, except in the case of small-scale operators, is to ensure that for each operating licence at least one person holds a specified management office and that person must hold a personal licence from the Commission. (see full details in LCCP Section A3). 


The purpose of the personal licence is to ensure that individuals who control facilities for gambling or are able to influence the outcome of gambling are licensed to ensure that they are suitable to carry out those functions, and that they understand the legal and compliance requirements concerned with the gambling they operate. 

Personal licences are granted to an individual and are not transferable. They cannot be held by a company. Once granted they are portable between posts and employers provided that the same type of personal licence is appropriate. The Commission has imposed licence conditions that are specific to personal licences. These require that the holder takes reasonable steps to avoid causing a breach of an operating licence; keeps up to date with developments in gambling legislation or guidance; and informs the Commission of certain specified key events. 


Personal licences are granted to an individual and are not transferable. They cannot be held by a company. Once granted they are portable between posts and employers provided that the same type of personal licence is appropriate. The Commission has imposed licence conditions that are specific to personal licences. These require that the holder takes reasonable steps to avoid causing a breach of an operating licence; keeps up to date with developments in gambling legislation or guidance; and informs the Commission of certain specified key events. 


‘Small-scale operators’ are exempt from the obligation to have at least one member of management hold a personal licence. 

The definition of a small-scale operator has been set out in regulations made by the Secretary of State. Individuals or companies are classed as small-scale operators if, in relation to the activity authorised by their operating licence, they have no more than three ‘qualifying positions’ each of which is occupied by a ‘qualified person’. See The Gambling Act 2005 (Definition of Small-scale Operator) Regulations 2006 for a full definition (see also 2.24). 


Qualifying positions are those offices (whether or not held by a director in the case of a licensee which is a company, a partner in the case of a licensee which is a partnership or an officer of the association in the case of a licensee which is an unincorporated association) the occupier of which is by virtue of the terms of their appointment responsible for: 

a) the overall management and direction of the licensee’s business or affairs 

b) the licensee’s finance function as head of that function 

c) the licensee’s gambling regulatory compliance function as head of that function 

d) the licensee’s marketing function as head of that function 

e) the licensee’s information technology function as head of that function in so far as it relates to gambling-related information technology and software 

f) oversight of the day to day management of the licensed activities at an identified number of premises licensed under Part 8 of the Act or across an identified geographical area 

g) in the case of casino and bingo licences only, oversight of the day to day management of a single set of premises licensed under Part 8 of the Act. 


The person responsible for the licensee’s gambling regulatory compliance function as head of that function shall not, except with the Commission’s express approval, occupy any other specified management office. 


The Head of Compliance must (regardless of the reporting lines or structure of the company) be able to raise objections at board level to anything which puts the licensing objectives at risk, or was in direct conflict with them. 


Licensees must take all reasonable steps to ensure that anything done in the performance of the functions of a specified management office is done in accordance with the terms and conditions of the holder’s personal management licence. 


Where an individual is authorised by a personal licence and that licence comes under review under section 116(2) of the Act, the operating licensee must comply with any conditions subsequently imposed on that licence by the Commission about redeployment, supervision, or monitoring of the individual’s work and any requirements of the Commission in respect of such matters applicable during the period of the review. 

2.7.10 Qualified persons are those: 

a) named on the operating licence as holding a qualifying position or 

b) who are the subject of an application to vary the licence to add their name as a person holding a qualifying position. 

2.7.11 The relevance of criminal convictions 

The Commission will determine the weight it will attach to convictions for relevant offences and unspent convictions for other offences committed by licence applicants or persons relevant to applications for operating or personal licences having regard to the nature and seriousness of the offence and the time which has elapsed since the offence was committed. 

2.7.12 Failure to declare convictions 

The Commission will attach significant weight to failure by a licence applicant to declare a conviction for a relevant offence or unspent conviction for any other offence committed by it or a person relevant to the application, in the absence of a reasonable excuse for such failure. 

2.8 Premises Licences 


Where an individual or company proposes to offer gambling for which an operating licence is required, and which is premises based, that individual or company will also need to apply for a premises licence. 


Premises licences are issued by the licensing authority with responsibility for the area in which the premises are situated and may authorise the provision of facilities on a bingo premises. 


Premises licences may only be issued to people with a relevant operating licence. To obtain a bingo premises licence the applicant must hold a bingo operating licence. Premises licences are transferable to someone else holding a valid operating licence. 


The Act provides that licensing authorities may attach conditions to premises licences. 

2.9 Premises Licence Conditions 


The Act provides that conditions may be attached to licences in a number of ways: 

a) they may attach automatically, having been set out on the face of the Act; 

b) they may attach through regulations made by the Secretary of State or Scottish Ministers; 

c) they may be attached to operating and personal licences by the Commission; 

d) they may be attached to premises licences by licensing authorities.  


Conditions may sometimes be general in nature (in effect they attach to all licences or all licences of a particular class) or they may be specific to a particular licence. 


Conditions on premises licences should relate only to gambling, as considered appropriate in the light of the principles to be applied by licensing authorities under section 153. Accordingly, if the Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice or other legislation places particular responsibilities or restrictions on an employer or the operator of premises, it is not necessary or appropriate to impose the same or similar duties in conditions on a premises licence issued in accordance with the Gambling Act. Similarly, where other legislation confers powers on inspection and enforcement agencies in relation to separate activities or concerns, the Gambling Act does not affect the continued use of such powers; for example, the powers of an environmental health officer in respect of statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. 

2.10 Conditions and Authorisations That Attach Automatically to Premises Licences by Virtue of Provisions on the Face of the Act 

The following paragraphs discuss the sections of the Act that provide for conditions to be attached automatically to premises licences, or for authorisations to be granted automatically. The Secretary of State may make regulations requiring these conditions to be set out on the premises licence. There is no discretion to decide not to include them, or to modify them. 

2.10.1 Section 172 – Gaming Machines 

a) Section 172 provides for premises licences to permit a specified number of gaming machines of particular categories in each type of gambling premises. 

b) Section 172(7) provides that the holder of a bingo premises licence may make available for use a number of category B gaming machines not exceeding 20% of the total number of gaming machines which are available for use on the premises and any number of category C or D machines. Premises in existence before 13 July 2011 are entitled to make available eight category B gaming machines, or 20% of the total number of gaming machines, whichever is the greater. The holder of a bingo premises licence granted on or after 13 July 2011 is entitled to make available a maximum of eight category B gaming machines or 20% of the total number of gaming machines, whichever is the greater; from 1 April 2014 these premises will be entitled to 20% of the total number of gaming machines only. Regulations state that category B machines at bingo premises are restricted to sub-category B3 and B4 machines but not B3A machines.  

2.10.2 Section 177 – Giving Credit 

Section 177 attaches a condition to bingo premises licences that prohibits the licensee from: 

a) giving credit in connection with the gambling taking place on the premises. 

b) participating in, arranging, permitting or knowingly facilitating the giving of credit in connection with the gambling on the premises. 

c) However, section 177 does not prevent the licensee from contracting a third party to install cash dispensers (ATMs) on their premises, which may accept both credit and debit cards. Such an arrangement is subject to requirements that the premises licence holder has no other commercial connection in relation to gambling with the provider of the ATMs (aside from the agreement to site the machines), does not profit from the arrangement, and does not make any payment in connection with the machines. All premises licences also include a mandatory condition which requires that any ATM made available for use on the premises must be located in a place that requires any customer who wishes to use it to cease gambling in order to do so. (see Cash Transactions section B) 

d) This part of the Guidance deals only with the issue of credit in the context of section 177. The provision of credit by gambling operators and the use of credit cards are separate matters that are managed through operating licence conditions and codes of practice issued by the Commission. 

2.10.3 Section 178 – Door Supervision 

a) Section 178 relates to door supervision at premises licensed for gambling. It defines a condition for door supervision as one requiring someone to be responsible for ‘guarding the premises against unauthorised access or occupation, against outbreaks of disorder or against damage’. Where a licensing authority chooses to attach such a condition, section 178 also provides that if the person carrying out such duties is required to be licensed under the Private Security Industries Act 2001 (PSIA), then that requirement must be treated as though it were a condition of the premises licence. There is, however, an exemption from the PSIA licensing requirement for in-house employees working as door supervisors at bingo premises. 

b) The SIA regulates the private security industry in England, Wales and Scotland, and is responsible for licensing individuals working within the various industry sectors, by virtue of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 (PSIA). The majority of persons employed to work as door supervisors at premises licensed for gambling, and carrying out the functions listed under Schedule 2 Part 1 of the PSIA, will need to be licensed by the SIA. There are, however, exceptions to this requirement. 

c) The PSIA requires that all contract staff (those employed under a contract for services) carrying out the functions set out under Schedule 2 Part 1 of the PSIA require licensing by the SIA. However, certain premises also need to have their in-house employees (those employed under a contract of service), who carry out these functions, licensed. These premises include those holding a premises licence for the supply of alcohol or regulated entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003. 

d) This requirement is relaxed when applied to door supervisors at bingo premises. Where ‘contract’ staff are employed as door supervisors bingo premises, such staff will need to be licensed by the SIA. However, ‘in-house’ employees working as door supervisors at casino and bingo premises are exempt from these requirements. 

2.10.4 Section 183 – Christmas Day Working 

Section 183 applies to all premises licences. It attaches the condition to the premises licence that facilities for gambling must not be provided on Christmas Day. In this context, ‘Christmas Day’ covers the period of 00.01 hours on 25 December until 00.00 hours on 26 December. 

2.10.5 Conditions attached through regulations made by the Secretary of State or Scottish Ministers 

These conditions fall into two categories. 

a) The first are mandatory conditions under section 167 of the Act, which provides for the Secretary of State or Scottish Ministers to set out in regulations conditions that must be attached to premises licences. Mandatory conditions are set by the Secretary of State and Scottish Ministers with the intention that no further regulation in relation to that matter is required. 

b) The second category relates to default conditions which may be imposed under section 168 of the Act, which provides for the Secretary of State or Scottish Ministers to make conditions that apply, unless the licensing authority decides to exclude them using its powers under section 169. 

c) Mandatory conditions are set by the Secretary of State and Scottish Ministers with the intention that no further regulation in relation to that matter is required. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that licensing authorities will need to impose individual conditions that will lead to a more restrictive regime in relation to matters that are already dealt with by mandatory conditions. Licensing authorities will only consider doing so where there are regulatory concerns of an exceptional nature and any additional licence conditions must relate to the licensing objectives. 

d) Licensing authorities have more flexibility in relation to default conditions, and may exclude a default condition and substitute it with one that is either more or less restrictive. The default conditions are intended to be the basic industry norm. While, given the requirements of section 153, the Commission would expect default conditions to be excluded and replaced with less rigid conditions on a relatively regular basis, licensing authorities would need to ensure that they have clear regulatory reasons for excluding default conditions and replacing them with more restrictive ones. 

2.10.6 Mandatory conditions attaching to all premises licences 

The following mandatory conditions apply to all premises licences: 

a) the summary of the terms and conditions of the premises licence issued by the licensing authority must be displayed in a prominent place on the premises. 

b) Any admission charges, the charges for playing bingo games and the rules of bingo must be displayed in a prominent position on the premises. Rules can be displayed on a sign, by making available leaflets or other written material containing the rules, or running an audio- visual guide to the rules prior to any bingo game being commenced. 

c) the layout of the premises must be maintained in accordance with the plan that forms part of the premises licence. 

d) neither National Lottery products nor tickets in a private or customer lottery may be sold on the premises. 

e) There are also mandatory conditions attaching to each type of premises licence controlling access between premises. There can be no direct access between one premises licensed under the Gambling Act 2005 and another premises licensed under the Gambling Act 2005, with the following exception: 

  • between bingo premises and alcohol-licensed premises/clubs with a club gaming or club machine permit/FECs and tracks. 

f) A notice stating that no person under the age of 18 years is permitted to play bingo on the premises shall be displayed in a prominent place at every entrance to the premises. 

g) Any ATM made available for use on the premises shall be located in a place that requires any customer who wishes to use it to cease gambling in order to do so.

Default Condition: Hours of Play 

Bingo facilities in bingo premises may not be offered between the hours of midnight and 9am. However, there are no restrictions on access to gaming machines in bingo premises. Extensions to the operating hours may be granted on application to the local Licensing authority. 

2.10.7 Conditions that may be imposed on or excluded from premises licences by licensing authorities 

Section 169 of the Act gives licensing authorities: 

a) the ability to exclude from premises licences any default conditions that have been imposed under section 168. 

b) the power to impose conditions on the premises licences that they issue. 

c) Licensing authorities have a duty to act in accordance with the principles set out in section 153. Since they must aim to permit the use of premises for gambling, they should not attach conditions that limit the use of premises for gambling, except where that is necessary as a result of the requirement to act:  

  • In accordance with this Guidance, the Commission’s codes of practice or their own Licensing Authority Statement of Policy. 
  • In a way that is reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives. 
  • Conversely, licensing authorities should not turn down applications for premises licences where relevant objections can be dealt with through the use of conditions. 

d) Conditions imposed by the licensing authority must be proportionate to the circumstances which they are seeking to address. In particular, licensing authorities should ensure that the premises licence conditions are: 

  • relevant to the need to make the proposed building suitable as a gambling facility; 
  • directly related to the premises and the type of licence applied for; 
  • fairly and reasonably related to the scale and type of premises; and 
  • reasonable in all other respects. 

It is the Commission’s view that the conditions necessary for the general good conduct of gambling premises are those set as default and mandatory conditions by the Secretary of State and Scottish Ministers. Therefore, a pool of additional conditions published by the Commission is not necessary. Where there are specific, evidenced risks or problems associated with a particular locality, or specific premises or class of premises, a licensing authority will be able to attach individual conditions to address this. That will be a matter for them in the light of local circumstances. 

2.10.8 Conditions that may not be attached to premises licences by licensing authorities 

The Act sets out certain matters that may not be the subject of conditions, as follows: 

a) section169(4) prohibits an authority from imposing a condition on a premises licence which makes it impossible to comply with an operating licence condition; 

b) section 172(10) provides that conditions may not relate to gaming machine categories, numbers, or method of operation; 

c) section 170 provides that membership of a club or body cannot be required by attaching a condition to a premises licence (the Act specifically removes the membership requirement for bingo clubs and this provision prevents it being reinstated); 

d) section 171 prevents an authority imposing conditions in relation to stakes, fees, winnings or prizes. 

2.11 Primary Gambling Activity (PGA) 

2.11.1 Ordinary code provisions 9.1.1 & 9.1.2 

In order to demonstrate that the primary gambling activity for which an operating licence has been issued is being offered in each licensed premises, licensees should have regard to the following general factors: 

a) the ratio of the space available to customers allocated to the primary gambling activity, to that allocated to other gambling activities; 

b) the extent to which the primary gambling activity is promoted on the premises and by way of external advertising compared to other gambling activities; 

c) the use, either expected or actual, to be made of the different gambling facilities. 


Licensees should also have regard to the following additional sector specific factors: 

a) the frequency and extent that bingo is, or is intended to be played on the premises, compared with the periods when the premises are open. 

b) whether there is: 

  • capacity on the premises for the generation of main stage bingo numbers; 
  • a facility to sell tickets or cards for bingo games on the premises; 
  • bingo available to be played whenever sessions are advertised; 
  • display of prize board information; 
  • a means of stopping a game to claim a win. 

Not all the indicators would need to be present in a particular case, nor do they preclude others, but the combination of those factors that are present should be sufficient to indicate that the activity is the primary one in any given premises. 


In accordance with section 150 of the Act, premises licences can authorise the provision of facilities on bingo premises. 


By distinguishing between premises types the Act makes it clear that the primary gambling activity of the premises should be that described. Thus, in a bingo premises, the primary activity should be bingo, with gaming machines as an ancillary offer on the premises. The latest issue of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (see 2.24) sets out 

in full the requirements on operators. Subject to the gaming machine entitlements which various types of licence bring with them the Act does not permit premises to be licensed for more than one activity. 


Licence conditions set out the requirements for Primary Gambling Activity in relation to bingo operators. The licence condition (16.1.1) states that: 

a) ‘Gaming machines may be made available for use in licensed bingo premises only on those days when sufficient facilities for playing bingo are also available for use. 

b) In cases where bingo is exclusively offered by means of electronic bingo terminals or bingo machines, there must be more individual player positions made available for bingo than there are gaming machines made available for use.’ 

2.12 In the Act, the Meaning of ‘Premises’ 


Is defined as including ‘any place’. Section 152 therefore prevents more than one premises licence applying to any place. But, there is no reason in principle why a single building could not be subject to more than one premises licence, provided they are for different parts of the building, and the different parts of the building can reasonably be regarded as being different premises. This approach has been taken to allow large, multiple unit premises such as pleasure parks, tracks, or shopping malls to obtain discrete premises licences, where appropriate safeguards are in place. However, licensing authorities will pay particular attention if there are issues about sub-division of a single building or plot and should ensure that mandatory conditions relating to access between premises are observed. 


In most cases the expectation is that a single building/plot will be the subject of an application for a licence, for example, 32 High Street. But that does not mean that 32 High Street cannot be the subject of separate premises licences for the basement and ground floor, if they are configured acceptably. Whether different parts of a building can properly be regarded as being separate premises will depend on the circumstances. The location of the premises will clearly be an important consideration and the suitability of the division is likely to be a matter for discussion between the operator and the licensing officer. However, the Commission does not consider that areas of a building that are artificially or temporarily separated, for example by ropes or moveable partitions, can properly be regarded as different premises. 


The Commission recognise that different configurations may be appropriate under different circumstances but the crux of the matter is whether the proposed premises are genuinely separate premises that merit their own licence with, for example, the machine entitlements that brings and are not an artificially created part of what is readily identifiable as a single premise. 


Facilities corresponding to the premises licence type. The Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP), sets out in full the requirements on operators. 


With the exception of bingo clubs, tracks on race-days and licensed family entertainment centres, children will not be permitted to enter licensed gambling premises. Therefore, businesses will need to consider carefully how they wish to configure their buildings if they are seeking to develop multi-purpose sites. 


Licensing authorities will take particular care in considering applications for multiple premises licences for a building and those relating to a discrete part of a building used for other (non-gambling) purposes. In particular, the following: 

a) The third licensing objective seeks to protect children from being harmed by gambling. In practice, that means not only preventing them from taking part in gambling, but also preventing them from being in close proximity to gambling. Therefore, premises should be configured so that children are not invited to participate in, have accidental access to, or closely observe gambling where they are prohibited from participating. 

b) Entrances to and exits from parts of a building covered by one or more premises licences should be separate and identifiable so that the separation of different premises is not compromised and people do not ‘drift’ into a gambling area. In this context it should normally be possible to access the premises without going through another licensed premises or premises with a permit. 

c) Customers should be able to participate in the activity named on the premises licence. 


In determining whether two or more proposed premises are truly separate, the licensing authority will look at the following factors: 

a) Is a separate registration for business rates in place for the premises? 

b) Is the premises’ neighbouring premises owned by the same person or someone else? 

c) Can each of the premises be accessed from the street or a public passageway? 

d) Can the premises only be accessed from any other gambling premises?


Where more than one premises licence is permitted within a building the gaming machine entitlement for the separately licensed premises may not be aggregated and no more than the permitted number and category of machines for the relevant type of premises may be placed in any one of the individual sets of premises within the building. 


The proper application of section 152 means that different premises licences cannot apply in respect of single premises at different times. There is no temporal element to a premises licence. Therefore, premises could not, for example, be licensed as a bingo club on week days and a betting shop at weekends. 

2.13 Division of Premises and Access Between Premises 


An issue that may arise when division of a premises is being considered is the nature of the unlicensed area from which a customer may access a licensed gambling premises. The precise nature of this public area will depend on the location and nature of the premises. Licensing authorities will consider whether the effect of any division is to create a machine shed-type environment with very large banks of machines, which is not the intention of the access conditions, or whether it creates a public environment with gambling facilities being made available. Licensing authorities will consider that where they have concerns about the use of premises for gambling, these can be addressed through licence conditions. 


The Gambling Act 2005 (Mandatory and Default Conditions) Regulations set out the access provisions for each type of premises. The broad principle is that there can be no access from one licensed gambling premises to another, except between premises which allow access to those under the age of 18. Under-18s can go into family entertainment centres, tracks, pubs and some bingo clubs. So access is allowed between these types of premises. 


There is no definition of ‘direct access’ in the Act or regulations. However, it could be said that there should be an area separating the premises concerned (for example a street or cafe), which the public go to for purposes other than gambling, for there to be shown to be no direct access. 

2.13.4 Bingo Premises 

No customer must be able to access the premises directly from: 

a) a casino; 

b) an adult gaming centre; 

c) a betting premises, other than a track. 

2.14 The Gambling Commission 


The Act established the Gambling Commission to regulate all commercial gambling in Great Britain other than spread betting. 


The Gambling Commission also regulates the National Lottery, following the abolition of the National Lottery Commission which provided a transfer of property, rights and liabilities under the Public Bodies (Merger of the Gambling Commission and National Lottery Commission) Order 2013 which was effective on 1st October 2013. 


The Commission was established on 1 October 2005 and has an overriding obligation to pursue and have regard to the licensing objectives as set out in section 1 of the Act, and to permit gambling so far as it thinks it is reasonably consistent with them. 


The Commission published its Statement of principles for licensing and regulation in September 2009. The Statement sets out how the Commission would approach its regulatory and other functions under the Gambling Act 2005. This document and any subsequent update to it is available from the Commission’s website or by using the link above. 


The Commission has legal powers to monitor licence holders and is able to apply penalties. Penalties for both operating and personal licences may include fines and/or revocation of the licence. The Commission also has the ability to prosecute operating and personal licence holders. It may also investigate and, where appropriate, in consultation with licensing authorities and the police, may prosecute illegal gambling. 


The Commission is required to advise the Secretary of State about the incidence of gambling, the manner in which gambling is carried on, the effects of gambling and the regulation of gambling. Copies of the advice are sent to Scottish Ministers. 


To ensure that the Commission is well placed to provide advice, it monitors developments in gambling in Great Britain and in other jurisdictions. It works closely with a range of stakeholders including academics, the Department of Health and bodies working in the field of gambling research and problem gambling. 


Licensing authorities have a key role in providing information to the Commission to assist it in carrying out these functions. The Commission’s advice paper sets out the requirements on local authorities to provide data on those they licence and on compliance and enforcement action that may be necessary (see GLA 4th Edition Sept 2012). 


The Commission also requires operators to submit information and, together, these sources of information will allow it to build up a picture of gambling in Great Britain that can be relied upon so the Commission offers advice that is evidence-based. 

2.15 Regulatory sanctions 


If a premises licence or permit holder is found to be at risk of breaching, or is actually in breach of: a premises licence condition; a code of practice, compliance with which is a condition attached to a permit; or otherwise committing an offence under the Act, then licensing authorities may take enforcement action against that licence or permit holder. Such enforcement action may take the form of regulatory action, ranging from informal action through to prosecuting an offence under the Act. 


Informal actions that could be taken include giving oral and written advice, or issuing oral and written warnings. Formal actions that could be taken include conducting interviews under PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence) (or common law in Scotland), reviewing a premises licence, issuing simple cautions and initiating prosecutions. In Scotland, the licensing board will refer the question of interview to the police in the first instance and the decision to initiate a prosecution will be taken by the procurator fiscal. 


If the matter relates to a premises licence, then it may be that the particular circumstances give rise to the possibility of breaching the conditions of both a premises and an operating licence. In such circumstances the Commission will generally take action against the operator (which might include prosecution but would normally be regulatory action) following discussion with the licensing authority, against the operator. However, there may be occasions where a licensing authority is better placed to take the lead, particularly where there is a breach of a premises licence condition that is confined to one authority area and is a particular priority for that area, or where the risk of, or impact of, any operating licence breach is isolated rather than systemic. The licensing authority may also be best placed to take the lead if there are additional specific matters that it also wants to take action on that fall outside the scope of the Act’s licensing objectives, such as health and safety concerns. 


Licensing authorities will also take the lead if there is a possibility of a breach or an actual breach of a permit, as the Commission does not have powers to undertake enforcement action relating to permits, besides the general power to prosecute illegal gambling. 


Section 197 of the Act requires licensing authorities to inform the Commission when a review into a premises licence is initiated, either as a result of a complaint from another party or if initiated by the licensing authority itself. The Commission will therefore be able to provide an input into any premises licence review and as such requires to be informed of the output of such reviews, as there may be wider implications towards the status of the operating licence. 


Where considered appropriate and necessary, cases that involve offences other than gambling offences may be referred to the appropriate external enforcement agency (for example the police, Advertising Standards Authority, Trading Standards etc.), but the Commission will need to be aware of the breach. 


The Commission has established criteria by which it will determine which agency should take the lead on enforcement matters relating to breaches connected to premises licences, permits and temporary use notices. 

The criteria are as follows: 

The powers available under the Act: 

a) Only licensing authorities can undertake administrative action (suspensions, revocations) in relation to premises licences and permits. 

The nature of the breach or risk of breach: 

b) If it involves permits, temporary permissions or breaches of premises licences conditions with essentially local impacts the local licensing authority would normally deal with them. 

The seriousness of the breach or risk of breach: 

c) Where a breach appears to be widespread or stemming from systemic failures on the part of the operator, then the Commission will generally take action. The Commission will also generally take action if the offence is high impact, if there is nationwide deterrence value of enforcement action or if the case will establish a precedent. As noted above the Commission will be notified if a licensing authority starts to review a premises licence and so will have the opportunity to comment and contribute to the review. 

The geographical impact of the breach: 

d) If there is a regional element to the breach, it may be appropriate for licensing authorities to co-ordinate their activity locally and to liaise with the Commission on the regulatory action to be taken. 

The frequency of the breach, or risk of breach: 

e) A ‘one off’ event may be best dealt with by a licensing authority, whereas repeat offences, or offences in several premises owned by the holder of an operating licence suggesting systemic breaches of licence conditions, should generally be dealt with by the Commission. Also whether the breach has a seasonal and therefore temporary impact. 

The enforcement action that is available: 

f) For example whether a fine would be a suitable enforcement outcome. 

g) Generally, if a licensing authority discovers a breach of a premises licence condition or permit in the course of other regulatory activity, it is expected that it will deal with the case. However, when formal enforcement action in relation to suspected breaches of a premises licence is to be taken by a licensing authority, it will inform the Commission that it is taking such action. This enables the Commission to comment on the proposed course of action if it considers it necessary to do so. It will be for the Commission to respond promptly to the notification of the intention to take action, and it is not expected that licensing authorities will wait for agreement from the Commission before taking action. 

2.16 Prosecutions 


The Act gives licensing authorities (in England and Wales), the police and the Commission the power to prosecute (among other offences) the offence of using premises for gambling without the requisite permissions. In exceptional circumstances, such as repeated deliberate breaches of premises licence conditions, licensed operators or permit holders may be prosecuted without any prior regulatory action (warnings, suspension or revocation of licence or removal of permit etc.). Most prosecutions will be against those illegally providing gambling without a licence or permit. 


Normally the Commission or the licensing authority would decide when to involve the police, rather than the police initiating any action. The Commission considers that examples of scenarios where the police should be involved include: 

a) when non-gambling offences are discovered, for example large-scale theft or other serious crime which extends beyond the reach of licence conditions; 

b) assistance with Commission investigations, for example enquiries into other criminal activity. 


There is a distinction between those who conduct gambling operations under a licence or permits but breach the conditions of their licence or permit, and those who seek to profit from providing facilities for gambling without a licence. While both situations result in unlawful gambling, the latter situation is generally considered by the Commission to be more serious. 

2.17 Breaches of Licences 


For the licensed industry there are a range of compliance and regulatory tools to ensure that licence holders remain compliant. Enforcement is a highly effective method of ensuring regulatory compliance and deterring regulatory breaches. Therefore, the Commission will undertake enforcement cases against those licensed operators and individuals who fall below the required regulatory standard or who fail to take effective remedial action to correct regulatory failings. In serious cases this will mean regulatory or criminal proceedings that may ultimately result in loss of the licence and therefore expulsion from the industry. Additionally, in serious cases, operators may also incur fines or imprisonment. 


Before commencing criminal proceedings against a licensed operator or his employee without a prior premises licence review (by virtue of which the Commission would be notified), licensing authorities will consult the Commission, as it may be that there have also been related breaches connected to operating and/or personal licences held by the operator, or breaches at premises in other parts of the country. 


If a particular breach is committed by a large national or regional operator, which may have wider implications for the gambling industry as a whole, then the Commission may wish to take primacy. However, under such circumstances the Commission will liaise with licensing authorities to establish who should take the lead on a case by case basis. 


In exceptional circumstances, where a licensing authority considers that enforcement action is justified and would normally take primacy, but feels it does not have sufficient investigatory powers or resources to deal with a relevant breach of the Act, it can refer the matter to the Commission to consider whether or not it can either assist the authority by providing resources/expertise or assuming primacy in the investigation and potential prosecution. 


In the course of an investigation into a breach of licence conditions or codes of practice, a licensing authority may find that other non-gambling offences are being committed on the premises, for example drugs offences or handling of stolen goods. Under these circumstances a multi-agency approach involving the police and the Commission will be essential. 

2.18 Summary of Offences Under The Gambling Act 2005 

A full list of offences under the Gambling Act 2005 can be found in appendix D of the Guidance to licensing authorities, 4th Edition. 

2.19 Liquor Licence 

2.19.1 Overview 

Businesses, organisations and individuals who want to sell or supply alcohol in England and Wales must have a licence or other authorisation from a licensing authority – usually a local council. The law and policy governing this area is overseen by the Home Office. 

The powers of the Licensing Act 2003 came fully into force at midnight at the end of 23rd November 2005. 

The current licensing regime gives more freedom and flexibility than the previous system of common fixed licensing hours. Establishments that apply for a Premises Licence or variation to their Premises Licence are able to request longer opening hours than the previous regime allowed. Decisions relating to the times, at which alcohol can be sold, as with any other conditions relating to a licence, are made by the local Licensing Authority. 

Key measures contained in the Act include: 

a) Flexible opening hours for licensed premises, with the potential for up to 24 hour opening, seven days a week. As well as the flexibility, the granting of the licence is subject to consideration of the impact on local residents, businesses, and the expert opinion of a range of authorities in relation to the licensing objectives. 

b) Single premises licences. The single integrated premises licence, brings together the six previous licensing regimes (for alcohol, public entertainment, cinemas, theatres, late night refreshment houses, and night cafés) with the intention of cutting down on bureaucracy and simplifying such provision. 

c) Personal licences. A personal licence is issued relating to the supply of alcohol. This enables holders to move more freely between premises where a premises licence is in force. 

The licensing authority, in considering any application for a licence or for a variation must have regard to The Licensing Objectives which are: 

  • The prevention of crime and disorder; 
  • Public safety;
  • The prevention of public nuisance; and
  • The protection of children from harm
  • In Scotland a fifth objective is added; Protecting and improving public health
2.19.2 Licensable activities 

For the purposes of the 2003 Act, the following are licensable activities: 

a) The sale by retail of alcohol; 

b) The supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club to, or to the order of, a member of the club; 

c) The provision of regulated entertainment; and 

d) The provision of late night refreshment.  

Note: It is not expected that the provision of late night refreshment as a secondary activity in licensed premises open for other purposes should give rise to a need for significant additional conditions. The key licensing objectives in connection with late night refreshment are the prevention of crime and disorder and public nuisance, and it is expected that both will normally have been adequately covered in the conditions relating to the other licensable activities on the premises. 

2.19.3 Unauthorised Activities 

It is a criminal offence under section 136 of the 2003 Act to carry on any of the licensable activities listed at paragraph C2.19.2 above other than in accordance with a licence or other authorisation under the 2003 Act. The maximum fine for this offence is £20,000, six months’ imprisonment or both. Police and local authorities have powers to take action in relation to premises carrying on unauthorised activities. 

2.19.4 Applying for a Licence 

The types of licences required are defined as follows: 

a) any business or other organisation that sell or supplies alcohol on a permanent basis needs to apply for a premises licence. 

b) anyone who plans to sell or supply alcohol or authorise the sale or supply of alcohol must apply for a personal licence. 

c) To apply for a licence, an application form should be completed and sent to the local council, along with the fee. Copies of the form (depending on the type of application made) may be sent to the police and other ‘responsible authorities’. Some councils accept electronic applications, otherwise, apply by post. 

d) Responsible authorities are:  

  • police 
  • local fire and rescue 
  • primary care trust (PCT) or local health board (LHB) 
  • the relevant licensing authority
  • local enforcement agency for the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 
  • environmental health authority 
  • planning authority 
  • body responsible for the protection of children from harm 
  • local trading standards 
  • any other licensing authority in whose area part of the premises is situated 
2.19.5 Fees Under the Licensing Act 2003 

Licence fees are prescribed in regulations (the Licensing Act 2003 (Fees) Regulations 2005). The fees paid in respect of applications for new premises, applications for full variations, annual fees, licences and club premises certificates; vary dependent on the national non-domestic rateable value (NNDR) “band” of the premises. 

2.19.6 Determining a Licence Application 

a) Where an application is properly made and no responsible authority or other person makes representations, the licensing authority must grant the application, subject only to conditions which are consistent with the operating schedule and relevant mandatory conditions in the act. This should be undertaken as a simple administrative process by the licensing authority’s officials. 

b) If representations are made by a responsible authority or other person, it is for the licensing authority to decide whether those representations are relevant to the licensing objectives and not frivolous or vexatious. If the licensing authority decides that any representations are relevant, then it must hold a hearing to consider them. 

c) At a hearing, the licensing authority may: 

  • grant the application subject to modifying conditions that are consistent with the operating schedule in a way it considers appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives; 
  • reject one or more requested licensable activities; 
  • reject the application; 
  • refuse to specify a person as a designated premises supervisor. 

All decisions of the licensing authority, and any conditions imposed, must be appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives. If the applicant disagrees with the council’s decision, you have a right of appeal to the magistrate’s court. 

2.19.7 Mandatory Licensing Conditions 

Where a premises licence authorises the supply of alcohol, the licence must include the following conditions: 

a) The first condition is that no supply of alcohol may be made under the premises licence:  

  • at a time when there is no designated premises supervisor in respect of the premises licence, or 
  • at a time when the designated premises supervisor does not hold a personal licence or his personal licence is suspended. 

b) The second condition is that every supply of alcohol under the premises licence must be made or authorised by a person who holds a personal licence.  

The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) Order 2010 introduced conditions that apply to all relevant premises in England and Wales. They apply to all licensed premises and those with a club premises certificate in England and Wales. In particular, if your premises sells or supplies alcohol, you must ensure that an age verification policy applies at the premises. 

The other conditions apply in respect of premises licensed for the sale or supply of alcohol on the premises, and are: 

a) a ban on irresponsible promotions; 

b) a ban on dispensing alcohol directly into customers’ mouths; 

c) mandatory provision of free tap water; 

d) the mandatory provision of smaller measures (see below for further details). 

Age verification policy 

a) The premises licence holder or club premises certificate holder must ensure that an age verification policy applies to the premises in relation to the sale or supply of alcohol. 

b) This must as a minimum require individuals who appear to the responsible person to be under the age of 18 years of age to produce on request (before being served alcohol) identification bearing their photograph, date of birth, and a holographic mark. Examples of acceptable ID include photo card driving licences, passports or proof of age cards bearing the PASS hologram, although other forms of ID which meet the criteria laid out above are also acceptable. 

c) The premises licence holder or club premises certificate holder must ensure that staff (in particular staff who are involved in the supply of alcohol) are made aware of the existence and content of the age verification policy applied by the premises. 

d) This condition does not exclude best practice schemes such as Challenge 21 or Challenge 25 which require individuals who appear to be under an age which is greater than 18 to provide ID. 

Smaller measures 

a) The responsible person must ensure that the following drinks if sold or supplied on the premises are available in the following measures: 

  • beer or cider – half pint 
  • gin, rum, vodka or whisky – 25ml or 35ml 
  • still wine in a glass – 125ml 

b) As well as making the drinks available in the above measures, the responsible person must also make customers aware of the availability of these measures – for example, by making their availability clear on menus and price lists, and ensuring that these are displayed in a prominent place in the relevant premises (e.g. at the bar). 

c) The above condition does not apply if the drinks in question are sold or supplied having been made up in advance ready for sale or supply in a securely closed container. For example, if beer is only available in pre-sealed bottles the condition to make 

The Licensing Act 2003 (Mandatory Licensing Conditions) Order 2014 (effective 6th April 2014) 

a) Its purpose is to introduce a further mandatory condition, applicable to all premises licences and club premises certificates, which will prohibit licensed premises from making a sale or supply of alcohol below the “permitted price”; this is defined as the aggregate of the duty chargeable in relation to the alcohol and the amount of that duty multiplied by a percentage which represents the rate of VAT chargeable in relation to the alcohol. 

b) This Order extends to England and Wales only. 

c) The ban will prevent anyone who supplies alcohol from selling alcohol at heavily discounted prices and aims to reduce excessive alcohol consumption and its associated impact on alcohol related crime and health harms. 

2.19.8 Personal Licence 

a) You are not required to have a personal licence to be employed in a pub or other business that sells alcohol. 

b) Premises licensed to sell alcohol must have a designated premises supervisor (DPS), who holds a personal licence. The one exception is a community premises that has successfully applied to waive the DPS requirement under section 41D of the act. Anyone who does not hold a personal licence must be authorised to sell alcohol by a personal licence holder. There is no such requirement for the supply of alcohol in a members’ club. 

c) Personal licences allow you to sell alcohol on behalf of any business that has a premises licence or a club premises certificate. The relationship is similar to the way that a driving licence permits the driving of any car. 

d) About the licence 

The personal licence is designed to ensure that anybody running or managing a business that sells or supplies alcohol will do so in a professional fashion. Once you receive your personal licence, you can act as the designated premises supervisor for any business that sells or supplies alcohol. 

e) Who can apply 

  • In order to apply, you must be aged 18 years or over, and (in almost all cases) hold a licensing qualification – for example, a BII Level II examination certificate or a similar accredited qualification such as the EDI NCPLH level 2 qualification. 
  • If you are applying for a personal licence, you must obtain an accredited qualification first. The aim of the qualification is to ensure that licence holders are aware of licensing law and the wider social responsibilities involved in the sale of alcohol. Personal licence qualification providers are accredited by the Home Secretary. 
  • Download the full list of accredited personal licence qualification providers through the link with the Resource Centre. 
  • Your local council will want to know of any relevant criminal convictions, and these may impact on whether or not you’re found to be suitable as a licensee. You will also need to provide a basic criminal conviction disclosure form. 

f) Changing a licence or club certificate 

If you wish to change any aspect of your licence or club certificate once it has been granted, you will need to apply to your local council for either a full or a minor variation.

Full variations 
The full variation process is very similar to the application process for a new premises licence and the fee is the same. You should use this process if you want to make a substantial change to your licence, for example, increasing the hours when you sell alcohol. 

Minor variations 
If you want to make a small, low-risk change to your premises licence, you may be able to use the minor variation process. This is cheaper and quicker than the full variation application. 

Small changes could include: 

  • removing a licensable activity 
  • reducing the hours you sell alcohol 
  • making small changes to the layout of your premises 

g) If you apply for a minor variation and your application is rejected, you will not be able to appeal. However, you can reapply using the full variation process. 

h) Contact your local council for advice on which process is more suitable for the change you want to make. 

2.19.9 Community Involvement in Licensing 

a) Any person or business may make representations on premises licence applications or variations, premises licence reviews, representations in relation to club premises certificates and reviews of club premises certificates. 

b) Making representations: Any person can make representations or comments to the council about applications for new licences, variations or reviews. Comments may be positive or negative, but will only be considered relevant by the council if they relate clearly to the licensing objectives. Councils will also reject comments considered to be frivolous (not serious or time-wasting) or if they relate to personal disputes between businesses. 

c) Requesting a review of a licence: Members of the public can also call for an existing licence to be reviewed by the council, if they have concerns relating to the licensing objectives. 

d) Hearings: If the council considers their reasons for making representations or calling for a review are relevant, it will arrange a hearing to consider the evidence. The complainant or someone representing them will be invited to the hearing to explain their concerns. 

e) Representations and requests for the review of a licence must be made in writing. Forms are obtained from the local council. 

f) If the complainant disagrees with the council’s decision following a hearing, they have the right to appeal to the magistrates’ court. 

2.19.10 Late Night Refreshment 

Late night refreshment is the sale of hot food or drink to the public to consume off or on the premises between 11pm and 5am. For further information, see Schedule 2 to the Licensing Act 2003. 

2.19.11 Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) 

a) A designated premises supervisor (DPS) is the person who has day-to-day responsibility for the running of the business. 

b) All businesses and organisations selling or supplying alcohol, except members’ clubs and certain community premises must have a designated premises supervisor. 

c) Whoever holds this role must be named in the operating schedule, which you will need to complete as part of the application process, when you apply for a premises licence. 

2.19.12 What the DPS Does 

a) The person chosen to be designated premises supervisor (DPS) will act as primary contact for local government and the police. They must understand the social issues and potential problems associated with the sale of alcohol, and also have a good understanding of the business itself. 

b) While they need not be on site at all times, they are expected to be involved enough with the business to be able to act as its representative, and they must be contactable at all times. 

c) If the police or local government have any questions or concerns about the business, they will expect to be able to reach the designated supervisor. 

d) Each business may have only one supervisor selected for this role, but the same person may act as the designated supervisor at more than one business. 

The Role and responsibilities of the DPS is detailed in the Home Office factsheet at the end of this section (2.24). 

2.19.13 Taking Responsibility 

a) The Licensing Act requires the supervisor – and all personal licence holders – to take responsibility for the sale and supply of alcohol. 

b) This is because of the impact alcohol has on the wider community, on crime and disorder, and antisocial behaviour. 

c) Because of these issues, selling alcohol carries greater responsibility than licensing regulated entertainment and late night sales of food and non-alcoholic drinks. 

2.19.14 Becoming a DPS 

A designated premises supervisor must have a personal licence and must be nominated by the premises licence holder for the role of designated supervisor. (see link in 2.24) 

2.19.15 Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) 

a) A responsible authority or any other person can make representations to a licensing authority about its proposal to make an early morning alcohol restriction order. 

b) A responsible authority or any other person may make representations during the 42-day period from the day after the day on which the proposal is advertised. 

c) A responsible authority is a body listed in sections 13(4) and 69(4) of the Licensing Act 2003. This order would enable the licensing authority to restrict the sale of alcohol in the specified area during the specified period, if the licensing authority considers it appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives. 

d) It is possible that a licensing authority may propose to make more than one early morning alcohol restriction order (“EMRO”) in its area. They may wish to replicate the description of the geographical area of the EMRO which the licensing authority has included in the proposed order. 

e) A licensing authority proposing to make an EMRO must hold a hearing to consider any relevant representations, unless the authority and each person who has made such a representation agree that a hearing is unnecessary. 

f) An early morning alcohol restriction order (“EMRO”) can apply to any period on each day beginning at or after 12am and ending at or before 6am. It does not have to apply on every day, and can apply for different time periods on different days. 

g) An EMRO can apply to the whole or any part of the licensing authority’s area. The EMRO will apply to premises licences, club premises certificates and temporary event notices in relation to premises situated in the specified area. 

h) An EMRO can apply for a limited or unlimited period of time. For example, an EMRO may apply for a few weeks in relation to a specific event or apply for an indefinite period. 

i) It should be noted that any Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) or Late Night Levy (LNL) in operation in an area which includes a bingo licensed premises, may have the effect of introducing a liability to pay significant levies and restrictions on opening hours for individual premises. Operators should ensure that they are aware of the effect of any such liabilities before they apply for an extension to their opening hours. 

j) Operators should also check whether there are any restrictions in their own leases or if there are planning restrictions on hours of operation. 

2.19.16 Alcohol Licensing & Legislation in Scotland 

This section looks at key aspects of alcohol legislation in Scotland that affect bingo operations. 

The Scottish Government is responsible for regulating the powers of Scottish local authorities and Licensing Boards in relation to licensing the sale of alcohol. Licensing is the responsibility of Licensing Boards under powers contained in the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005. Local Licensing Boards have wide discretion to determine appropriate licensing arrangements according to local needs and circumstances and their own legal advice. 

Guidance on licensing (including alcohol) is available at: 

a) Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 – originally published 2007 Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 – Section 142: Guidance for Licensing Boards and Local Authorities – This guidance has been prepared in accordance with section 142 of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005. This guidance was produced in 2007 to support the implementation of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005. 

b) Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Act 2010 – Guidance for Licensing Boards (published in 2011) – This guidance was prepared and issued in order to assist with the implementation of the Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Act 2010 with focus on Pricing of alcohol, Drinks promotions, Age verification policy, Licensing policy statements, Chief Constables’ Reports 

c) Personal Licence Holder – Modification to Guidance Document – originally published 2013. This modification to the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 guidance has been produced to assist Licensing Boards and clerks with the administration of the requirement for personal licence holders to evidence that they have undertaken refresher training, particularly in relation to those personal licences issued in the transition period between 01 March 2008 and 01 September 2009.

Key Variations to England/Wales 

a) Age Verification policy 

  • There is a mandatory condition in premises licences in that there must be an age verification policy in relation to the sale of alcohol on the premises 
  • An age verification policy is where steps are to be taken to establish the age of a person attempting to buy alcohol on the premises (the customer) if it appears to the person selling the alcohol that the customer may be less than 25 years of age (or such older age as may be specified in the policy). 
  • The minimum age that an age verification policy applies in relation to, must be at least 25 years of age. It does not prescribe the details of the policy that must be in place, allowing flexibility for retailers to adopt the most appropriate procedures for them. The retailer would still be able to operate an age verification policy that operates at a higher age, for example, 30. 
  • It is an offence to sell alcohol to persons under 18. However, it is a defence for a person to show that they have taken reasonable steps to establish the customers age. One such step is that the person selling the alcohol has been shown a proof of age document which Scottish Ministers have listed as being acceptable. 
  • The documents which can be used as proof of age are:
    • a passport; 
    • an EU photocard driving licence; and, 
    • a photographic identity card approved by the British Retail Consortium for the purposes of its Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASSCard) 
  • the Sale of Alcohol to Children and Young Persons (Scotland) amendment regulations 2013 (effective 1st October 2013) prescribes additional documents which are:
    • Ministry of Defence Military Identity Cards; 
    • European Union Identity Cards; and 
    • Biometric Residence Permits. 

b) Pricing of alcohol 

  • Section 2 of the ‘Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Act 2010’ makes provision in respect of minimum price of a package containing two or more alcoholic products (for example, a case containing 12 bottles of wine, or a pack containing 6 cans of beer). The price of such packages must be equal to or greater than the sum of the prices at which each product is for sale. This provision only applies where each alcoholic product in the package is available for sale on the premises. This provision means the retailer cannot both sell an alcoholic product individually and offer a discount to the buyer for buying a package containing a multiple of alcoholic products which includes that product. 
  • For example, if a bottle of wine is sold at £4, then a retailer would not be able to sell a package of 2 of those bottles for less than £8. If one bottle of wine is sold for £4 and another bottle of wine is sold for £4.50, a retailer would not be able to sell a package of one of each of those bottles for less than £8.50. 
  • Similarly, a case of 24 x 440ml cans of beer may not be sold at a price less than the cost of individually buying 24 of those cans (provided that individual 440ml cans of that beer were available for sale on the premises). 

c) Drinks promotions 

  • Premises licences and occasional licences contain a mandatory licence condition restricting irresponsible promotions. One of the ways in which a drinks promotion in respect of on-sales of alcohol can be irresponsible is if it “involves the supply of an alcoholic drink free of charge or at a reduced price on the purchase of one or more drinks (whether or not alcoholic drinks).” 
  • Examples of such promotions to which these paragraphs apply include:
    • buy one, get one free 
    • all you can drink for £x 
    • three for the price of two 
    • five for the price of four, cheapest free 
    • 3 bottles of wine for £10 
    • buy six, get 20% off. 
    • based on the strength of alcohol 
    • involving drinking alcohol quickly 
  • Variations to the retail price of alcoholic drinks, for short term promotional purposes, are very restricted. Any promotion has to be in place for at least 72 consecutive hours (i.e. three trading days).
  • In addition, non-alcoholic drinks sold at a reasonable price must be available and tap water must be provided free of charge when requested. 
  • The 2005 Act provides a licence condition in premises licences that a drinks promotion is irresponsible if it “encourages, or seeks to encourage, a person to buy or consume a larger measure of alcohol than the person had otherwise intended to buy or consume.” This condition applies to on-sales and off-sales of alcohol. Section 4 of the Alcohol Act amends this so that it only applies to on-sales of alcohol. 

d) Designated Premises Manager (DPM) 

  • Each premises must have a Designated Premises Manager who must hold a Personal Licence. 
  • An individual may not, at any one time, be the premises manager of more than one licensed premises. and, accordingly, if an individual who is the premises manager of licensed premises is subsequently specified in the premises licence of other licensed premises as the premises manager of those other premises, the subsequent specification is of no effect. 
  • If the Designated Premises Manager leaves the premises, the Premises Licence Holder has 7 days in which to notify the Licensing Board and then 6 weeks to nominate a new Premises Manager. 
  • Failure to nominate will result in the Premises no longer being able to sell alcohol. 
  • Alcohol is not to be sold on the premises at any time when:
    • there is no premises manager in respect of the premises, 
    • the premises manager does not hold a personal licence, 
    • the personal licence held by the premises manager is suspended, or 
    • the licensing qualification held by the premises manager is not the appropriate licensing qualification in relation to the premises. 
    • The premises manager is not required to be present on the premises at the time any sale of alcohol is made. 

2.20 Bingo in Pubs & Clubs 


It is an offence to provide facilities for gambling without the relevant operating licence and premises licence unless the activity is subject to an exemption. Part 12 of the Act provides that in pubs and clubs, certain gaming, including poker, is exempt, subject to stakes and prizes limitations or, if correct permissions are held (club gaming permit), then there can be unlimited stakes and prizes. 


Gaming of the type usually provided in clubs and alcohol licensed premises is subject to lesser controls and a code of practice. These are designed to protect both the players and those providing the gaming facilities and ensure that, in general, gaming remains ancillary to the main purpose of the pub or club. While the principles are the same for both pubs and clubs there are different provisions for each sector. It remains the case that the law in this area is complex and each case must be judged according to its facts. 


A summary of gaming entitlements in pubs & clubs is set out in an appendix at the end of this section. 


Under the Act, clubs and pubs can offer bingo without a permit or a licence provided that: 

a) no sums are deducted from sums staked or won – so there can be no ‘rake’ from the prize pot; 

b) no participation fee is charged in respect of bingo games in pubs and the participation fee is no more than £1 per person per day in respect of bingo games in clubs, or £3 where a club gaming permit is held; 

c) games are held on the premises; 

d) games are not linked with games held on other premises; 

e) the total stakes or prizes for bingo games played in any seven day period does not exceed £2,000 more than once in 12 months, and 

f) there is a maximum stake per game per player of £5 for bingo in pubs. 


In the case of members’ clubs and miners’ welfare institutes, bingo may only be played by members and bona fide guests. 


Clubs and pubs will need to apply for a bingo operating licence if they operate bingo on club/ pub premises with total stakes or prizes that go above £2,000 in any week and they plan to do so again at any time during the following twelve months. This is known as high turnover bingo. After the first week of high turnover bingo the club will commit an offence if high turnover bingo is played again in the following twelve months, unless a bingo operating licence has been obtained. Provided the conditions outlined in the Act are complied with, the club will not need a premises licence. 

[Note – if the £2k limit is exceeded in a 7-day period, the club/institute is required to inform the Gambling Commission as soon as is reasonably practical, and commits an offence if it fails to do so. GA 2005, 275(6) & (7)] 

2.21 Defining Clubs and Alcohol Licensed Premises 


The Act separates gaming in clubs from that in other alcohol licensed premises (commonly known as pubs). 


The Act creates two types of club for the purposes of gaming: members’ clubs (including miners’ welfare institutes) and commercial clubs. This is an important distinction in respect of the gaming that may take place. 

2.21.3 Members’ club 

a) A members’ club is a club that is not established as a commercial enterprise, and is conducted for the benefit of its members. Examples include working men’s clubs, miners’ welfare institutes, branches of the Royal British Legion and clubs with political affiliations. Members’ clubs may apply to their local licensing authority for club gaming permits and club machine permits. 

b) The Act states that members’ clubs must have at least 25 members and be established and conducted ‘wholly or mainly’ for purposes other than gaming, unless the gaming is restricted to bridge and whist. Members’ clubs must be permanent in nature, but there is no need for a club to have an alcohol licence, if they want to provide gaming. 

2.21.4 Miners’ welfare institute 

The definition of a miners’ welfare institute has changed since they were first set up. They are associations established for recreational or social purposes. They are managed by representatives of miners or use premises regulated by a charitable trust which has received funds from one of a number of mining organisations. Miners’ welfare institutes may also apply for club gaming permits and club machine permits. 

2.21.5 Commercial club 

A commercial club is a club established for commercial gain (whether or not they are making a commercial gain). Examples include snooker clubs, clubs established as private companies and clubs established for personal profit. There are established tests in respect of determining a club’s status. In case of doubt, legal advice should be sought. Commercial clubs may only apply for club machine permits. 

2.21.6 Alcohol licensed premises 

Alcohol licensed premises are premises where there is an ‘on-premises alcohol licence’. The Act applies to premises which have a bar and where there is no requirement that alcohol is only served with food, that is, the premises should be dedicated bar premises as opposed to restaurant type premises. Pubs are not able to apply for club gaming or club machine permits, as they do not have membership. 

2.21.7 Permitted and exempt gaming in clubs and alcohol licensed premises 

The Act creates two types of gaming permission for clubs and alcohol licensed premises. 

a) Permitted gaming 

Permitted gaming is equal chance and other gaming permissible through the grant of a club gaming permit. A club gaming permit can only be granted to a members’ club (including a miners’ welfare institute). A club gaming permit cannot be granted to a commercial club or other alcohol licensed premises. A club gaming permit will allow a club to offer equal chance gaming with unlimited stakes and prizes, pontoon and chemin de fer (unequal chance gaming), and bingo. There are limits on participation fees (maximum of £20 for bridge and whist and £3 for other gaming) and the maximum for bingo stakes and prizes is £2,000 per week. 

Other than in the case of clubs established to provide the prescribed games of bridge and whist, clubs seeking club gaming permits must, as set out above, be established ‘wholly or mainly’ for purposes other than gaming. As was the position under the former Gaming Act 1968, when a club gaming permit is granted there are no limits on the stakes and prizes associated with permitted gaming. Permitted gaming also includes two bankers’ games: pontoon and chemin de fer. (chemin de fer was the original version of baccarat when it was introduced to France and is still the version that is popular there). 

b) Exempt gaming 

Exempt gaming is equal chance gaming generally permissible in any club or alcohol licensed premises. Equal chance gaming includes games such as backgammon, mah-jong, rummy, kalooki, dominoes, cribbage, bingo and poker. Such gaming should be ancillary to the purposes of the premises. Unlike the position under the Gaming Act 1968, this exemption is automatically available to all club or alcohol licensed premises, but is subject to statutory stakes and prize limits determined by the Secretary of State. 

2.21.8 Club premises certificates 

Members’ clubs can operate under club premises certificates instead of premises licences. This means, for example, that they are not required to have a designated premises supervisor, and sales of alcohol do not need to be authorised by a personal licence holder. 

Qualifying clubs 

a) To be classified as a club for the purpose of this certificate, a group must meet several conditions. These include: 

  • legitimacy – each applicant must be a real club with at least 25 members; 
  • a membership process that takes at least two days between application and acceptance; 
  • alcohol must not be supplied on the premises other than by the club; 
  • alcohol must be purchased by a committee made up of members all of whom are at least 18 years old; 
  • alcohol for the club must be purchased legally. 

b) A fee may not be levied for participation in the equal chance gaming offered by the club or alcohol licensed premises under the exempt gaming rules. A compulsory charge, such as a charge for a meal, would probably constitute a participation fee. 

c) As stated previously, in order to qualify as exempt gaming, clubs and alcohol licensed premises may not charge a rake on games or levy or deduct an amount from stakes or winnings. 

d) Members’ clubs may only be established wholly or mainly for the purposes of the provision of facilities for gaming if the gaming is of a prescribed kind. The Secretary of State has decided that bridge and whist should be the only prescribed kinds of gaming. So long as it does not provide facilities for other types of non-machine gaming, a bridge or whist club may apply for a club gaming permit. If gaming is the principal reason for attendance at a club (other than a dedicated whist or bridge club), then it is not exempt gaming under Section 269 of the Gambling Act 2005. This would include poker clubs and the like established primarily for the purpose of providing poker. If the gaming which is provided is not exempt, the operator will need to apply to the Commission for the relevant operating licence. 

2.22 Entertainment & Music Licences 


If you are providing entertainment, you may need two different licences: 

a) a licence from the local council that entitles you to provide public entertainment; 

b) a separate licence that gives you the right to perform copyrighted material or play recorded music and videos. 

2.22.2 Local council entertainment licences 

a) If you are holding a small private event that is not for profit and is not open to the public (for example a film showing in a sheltered housing scheme) you do not need a licence. This includes live music events so long as: 

  • it takes place between 8am and 11pm; 
  • it takes place at a venue that has a ‘Premises licence’ or a ‘Club Premises Certificate’; 
  • the audience is less than 200 people. 

b) You also do not need a licence to show unamplified live music at any venue, so long as it takes place between 8am and 11pm. 

c) For events open to the public, recorded music, dance or sporting events, plays and film or video shows, or live, amplified music where the audience is more than 200, premises generally do need to be licensed by the local authority. 

d) A venue should have a ‘Premises Licence’ or a ‘Club Premises Certificate’ issued by the City Council. The licence must cover the activities, for example, some premises are licensed for music and dancing but not for stage and film shows. The event will also have to take place in the premises’ licensed opening hours. 

2.22.3 Performing or playing copyright material 

a) If you want to perform music or a play written by someone else, or if you want to play recorded music or video, your premises will need a licence. If your event includes live music you must check the venue has a PPL PRS licence. PPL & PRS used to be separate bodies and often 2 separate licences were required. However, the 2 bodies have now merged to form PPL PRS. 

b) If you are playing recorded music or music video you will require the PPL PRs product, which is called TheMusicLicence 

c) A link to the PPL PRS web site will be found in the Resource Centre

2.23 TV Licensing 


You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast. This includes the use of devices such as a computer, laptop, mobile phone or DVD/video recorder. 


With a TV Licence, your organisation can display TV legally, whatever your staff, customers and visitors watch it on. 


If your staff or customers watch live TV without being covered by a TV Licence, your business is committing a criminal offence. 


As the owner, director, manager – or simply the one your colleagues rely on to make sure your organisation stays on the right side of the law, it’s your responsibility to buy a TV Licence when one’s needed. 


A link will be found to the TV Licensing web site within the Resource Centre