Club gaming and gaming machine permits
Clubs wishing to provide gaming machines or higher-value gaming in their premises, for the exclusive use of members, can apply for one of two types of permit:
- Club machine permits allow any club, including commercial clubs, to provide up to three gaming machines for use by members only.
- Club gaming permits allow up to three gaming machines to be operated, and also allow the club to offer prize gaming for club members without limits on the stakes and prizes (but subject to other restrictions). They are not available to commercial clubs - only to clubs operated by and for the benefit of their members.
Clubs that make gaming machines available for use must ensure that they comply with the Gambling Commission code of practice (pdf)
Permits can be granted in respect of fixed premises only, and not vehicles or vessels.
The types of gaming machines that can be made available will depend on the club's status. Gaming machines are categorised according to how much they cost to use and the maximum prize available. Any club, including commercial clubs, with one of these permits may make up to three machines from categories B4, C and D available for use. Non-commercial members clubs may instead choose to offer one machine from category B3A and two other machines from the categories above. The Gambling Commission provides further information on the categories of gaming machine which may be made available in club premises.
Clubs however may provide certain types of gaming without the need for a premises licence or operating Licence - Equal Chance Gaming
Criteria for clubs applying for permits
Any club applying for a permit must satisfy the following criteria:
- The club must have at least 25 permanent, individual members
- The club must not be established only to operate for a limited period
- The club must not be established and conducted wholly or mainly to provide gambling facilities (with the exception of bridge and whist clubs)
In addition, members' clubs applying for club gaming permits must be established and conducted for the benefit of their members, and must not be run as a commercial enterprise.
Miners' welfare institutes are also eligible to apply for permits, but are subject to different eligibility criteria. Please contact us for details.
Applying for a club gaming permit or club machine permit
An application can be made for a permit in respect of any premises occupied by the club for the use of members. Usually, the club secretary (or for commercial clubs, a director or other board member) will need to authorise the club's application.
The completed application form should be sent to us, together with payment of the appropriate fee.
Further copies of the completed application form must also be sent to the Gambling Commission and Hertfordshire Constabulary, within seven days of making the application. Either of these bodies may object to your application within a 28-day period.
If we have concerns about your application, or if objections have been received, we will hold a hearing to consider your application. A decision will then be made to either grant or refuse your application. The matters that we will look into include (but are not limited to) the following:
- The premises will not be used wholly or mainly be children or young persons
- The club has not previously committed any gambling-related offences or breaches of permits or licences
- No previous gambling permits held by the club have been revoked in the last 10 years.
Where applications are refused, there will be a right of appeal to the magistrates' court, within 21 days of notification of the refusal.
No further conditions can be attached to a permit, beyond the statutory conditions that automatically apply to permits, requiring that:
- No child or young person is to be allowed to use a category B or C gaming machine
- The club must comply with the Commission's code of practice for clubs and licensed premises
- Every person participating in gambling must have been a club member (or have applied for membership) for at least 48 hours before participation, or be a bona fide guest of such a member (applies to non-commercial clubs only)
Fast-track applications for clubs with club premises certificates
An alternate application process applies to clubs that hold club premises certificates under the Licensing Act 2003. These clubs are able to make 'fast-track' applications, by completing the relevant section of the application form. Different fees apply to fast-track applications.
Because the structure of the club has already been examined during the application process for the certificate, clubs making use of this provision will not have to send copies of their application form to the Gambling Commission nor the police, and objections cannot be made against the application by those bodies.
Fast-track applications may only be refused if we believe that:
- The club is established or conducted wholly or mainly for gaming (other than bridge or whist)
- The club is established or conducted wholly or mainly for bridge or whist, and provides facilities for gaming or another kind
- The club has had a gambling permit cancelled in the previous 10 years.
Any permit granted under the fast-track process will have an unlimited duration, but will lapse if the club premises certificate ceases to have effect. Annual fees will be payable to maintain the permit.
The Gambling Act 2005 is not subject to the EU Services Directive and tacit consent does not apply.
Maintenance of club permits
Both types of club permits are valid for 10 years (unless issued under fast-track procedures). An application to renew a permit may be made six to 12 weeks before it expires.
An annual fee (currently £50) is payable for all club permits. The first fee is due 30 days after the permit was granted, and then on the anniversary of the grant of the permit. Permits may be revoked if the annual fee is not paid.
Permits are not transferrable, and any new occupier of the club's premises must apply for a new permit (if eligible). Permits may be cancelled if the status of the club changes, or if the club is believed to have committed an offence or breach of a condition relating to gambling, or if the premises is used wholly or mainly by children or young persons.
The original permit must be kept on the premises to which it relates, and produced for inspection if requested by a police officer or a Gambling Commission enforcement officer. If lost, stolen or damaged, a duplicate permit can be obtained from us, but a fee will be payable. It will also be necessary to report lost or stolen permits to the police.
Permits can be surrendered if no longer required, by returning the original permit to us with a covering note.