Gambling Act 2005

Gambling and lotteries


You will need a licence if you want to provide facilities for gambling or the use of a premises for gambling. The three types of gambling licensable are: 

  • gaming
  • betting
  • participating in a lottery


This means playing a game of chance for a prize.


This means making or accepting a bet on:

  • the outcome of a race, competition or other event or process
  • the likelihood of anything happening or not happening
  • whether anything is or is not true

Participating in a lottery

This includes raffles, tombolas and sweepstakes. Lotteries can't be run for commercial gain and are where:

  • people have to pay to take part
  • prizes are allocated to participants
  • the prizes are either allocated wholly by chance or by a series of processes where the first of those processes relies wholly on chance

The Gambling Commission website provides useful guides around fundraising and staying within the law. This includes information about fundraising that my be exempt and those lotteries that may need to be registered with the gambling commission, or small society lotteries that should be registered with the local authority. Please consider this information before making your application for a small society lottery licence

A small society lottery application must be submitted to the local authority where the head office of the society is located.

If you hold a local authority small society lottery licence, you are required to submit a return form declaration within 3 months of each fundraising event.

The Gambling Commission

The Gambling Commission is the national gambling regulator. They are responsible for issuing:

  • personal licences
  • operating licences
  • statutory guidance 
  • codes of practice

They also monitor compliance, investigate illegal gambling and have prosecution powers.  

You can find out more about the gambling commission and whether you will need a personal or operating licence on their website.

The licensing objectives

The three objectives of the Gambling Act are:

  • to prevent gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
  • to make sure gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • to protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling

We are not able to become involved in the moral issues relating to gambling and must aim to allow the use of premises for gambling as long as we think it:

  • meets any relevant codes of practice
  • meets any relevant guidance issued by the gambling commission
  • is reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives; and
  • is in accordance with our statement of licensing policy

Our responsibilities and the licences we issue

We are responsible for issuing:

Premises licences for:

  • betting offices
  • race tracks
  • bingo clubs
  • adult gaming centres 
  • family entertainment centres

Permits for:

  • gaming machines in members clubs
  • gaming machine permits for alcohol licensed premises
  • gaming machine permits for unlicensed family entertainment centres
  • prize gaming

We are also responsible for administering:

  • temporary use notices for the temporary use of a premises for gambling, and
  • occasional use notices to allow temporary betting on a track

 and registering small society lotteries (under £20,000 ticket sales)


You can see the fees we charge for each type of application.

Gambling statement of licensing policy

If you are going to apply for a licence, notice or permit you'll need to read our statement of licensing policy first.

Following review and consultation of our policy statement we are now publishing our notice of intention for a revised statement of licensing policy that comes into effect on the 29 March 2019

Public register

See details of existing gambling licences and a list of current applications on our licensing public register.