Land-based gambling


What types of land-based gambling are permitted in your jurisdiction, and is gambling regulated at a national or subnational level?

The following types of land-based gambling are permitted where operators hold the appropriate licences issued by the Commission and their local licensing authority:

  • casinos;
  • arcades, comprising adult gaming centres (AGCs) and family entertainment centres (FECs);
  • betting; and
  • bingo.

Licences are also required by manufacturers and suppliers of gambling machines, which can be installed in the above types of premises and premises holding an alcohol premises licence or gaming machine permit.

Establishment licensing

Please describe the licensing criteria to operate land-based gambling of each type or classification. Does your jurisdiction limit the number of available licences?

Operators proposing to provide land-based gambling must hold:

  • an operating licence from the Commission; and
  • a premises licence from the licensing authority for the area in which the premises is located.

All applicants for a premises licence must hold, or have applied for, an operating licence from the Commission authorising the type of gambling for which the premises is to be used. The applicant must have a right to occupy the premises to which the application relates, which can be a freehold, leasehold or tenancy.

Applications for a premises licence must be made to the licensing authority for the area in which the premises is situated, which must aim to permit the use of premises for gambling insofar as it thinks it in accordance with codes of practice and guidance issued by the Commission, its own statement of licensing policy and reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives.

Arcades, betting, bingo and tracks

There are no limits on the numbers of premises licences available for these types of gambling premises.


There are three categories of casino licence: small, large and ‘converted’. These are the only types of licence that are limited in number. Card rooms and poker rooms must hold a casino premises licence.

‘Converted’ casino premises licences are those that were awarded under the repealed Gaming Act 1968. These may be moved to alternative premises within the same Licensing Authority area but no new licences are available. Eight small and eight large casino licences were made available under the 2005 Act. These were allocated to 16 licensing authority areas and each licence is subject to a public competition, with the licensing authority determining which bidder will be awarded the licence. The majority of these licences have now been awarded.

The usual licensing criteria applies to the first stage of a casino competition process and the licensing authority will make a provisional decision to grant a premises licence or provisional statement (if the premises is yet to be constructed or altered) to all applicants who pass that test. If there are more applications than there are licences available, at the second stage the licensing authority must determine which application would, in its opinion, result in the greatest benefit to the area and award the winner a casino premises licence or provisional statement.

Director, officer and owner licensing

Must individual directors, officers or owners of licensees also be licensed or reviewed for suitability?

Shareholders holding 10 per cent or more equity in a licensee must submit an ‘Annex A’ application and will be reviewed by the Commission, but are not licensed unless they also hold a management role. Subject to an exception for small-scale operators, individuals who hold a ‘key position’ with, or are able to exercise significant influence over, the operator are required to hold a personal management licence (PML). The key positions are:

  • overall strategy and delivery of gambling operations;
  • financial planning, control and budgeting;
  • marketing and commercial development;
  • regulatory compliance;
  • gambling-related IT provisions and security; and
  • in the case of a casino operator, the nominated officer for AML and associated purposes must hold a PML.

The Commission’s criteria regarding an individual’s suitability to hold a PML include:

  • identity and ownership;
  • finances;
  • integrity;
  • competence; and
  • criminality.

May a gambling location be part of a resort, restaurant or other multi-purpose location? What limitations apply?

The location of gambling premises is to a certain extent restricted by regulations that attach conditions to gambling premises licences, relating to where the premises may be entered from and what activities may be carried out on the premises. Gambling premises may be part of a resort or other multi-purpose location subject to the following restrictions.


The principal entrance to a casino must be from a street (this means a public thoroughfare and includes shopping centres), and no entrance to the premises may be from other premises that are used wholly or mainly by under 18s or other gambling premises.


No entrance to the premises may be from a casino, AGC or betting shop.


Access to the premises must be from either the street or other premises with a betting premises licence. No music, dancing or other entertainment may be provided or permitted on the premises, other than where it provides information about events on which bets are accepted. No alcohol may be consumed on the premises at any time when gambling facilities are provided. There must also be no direct access from a shop of any kind (unless it is a licensed betting premises).

Arcades (AGC and FEC)

No entrance to the premises may be from premises holding a casino, bingo or betting premises licence, or a gaming machine permit. No alcohol may be consumed on the premises at any time when gambling facilities are provided.

Passive/institutional ownership

Are there provisions for passive or institutional ownership that allow for exemption or modification of licensing requirements?

If a gambling business is owned by a publicly listed company or a company regulated by another regulated entity that meets the Commission’s probity requirements, such as the Financial Conduct Authority, the Commission may agree that it does not need to carry out further investigation of the ultimate beneficial owners of that entity. There are no exceptions for passive ownership as all individual owners with 10 per cent or more of the equity or voting rights will be investigated, regardless of their level of day-to-day involvement.

Responsible gambling

What responsible gambling obligations apply to licensees?

Land-based operators must comply with the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) attached to their operating licence, which includes extensive provisions in relation to responsible gambling. The requirements include that licensees must have policies and procedures to:

  • promote socially responsible gambling;
  • prevent underage gambling;
  • provide training to staff on their responsibilities for preventing underage gambling;
  • minimise the risk of lottery tickets being sold to children;
  • provide information on how to gamble responsibility and how to access help in respect of problem gambling;
  • interact with customers where the customer’s behaviour indicates problem gambling;
  • provide training to staff on their responsibilities for customer interaction;
  • provide for self-exclusion for a minimum period of six months and up to at least five years;
  • provide training to staff on their responsibilities for self-exclusion;
  • contribute to and participate in a national multi-operator self-exclusion scheme. SENSE is the land-based centrally maintained self-exclusion database currently in operation, which allow players to self-exclude from all participating land-based casinos. A national online multi-operator self-exclusion scheme has been established but is not yet obligatory;
  • ensure proper supervision of gaming is carried out;
  • set out the rules of gambling opportunities on offer;
  • ensure incentives and rewards are socially responsible, for example, proportionate to the customers’ level of gambling and not requiring customers to gamble for a fixed length of time;
  • ensure advertising is fair and not misleading; and
  • contribute to responsible gambling organisations.

What type of tax and what tax rate applies to each form of lawful land-based gambling activity?

The applicable tax regimes for land-based gambling for the tax year 2018-19 are as follows.


Bingo duty based on percentage of bingo promotion profits is 10 per cent.


General betting duty based on percentage of ‘net stake receipts’:

  • for fixed odds bets, totalisator bets on horse or dog races and bets taken on betting exchanges: 15 per cent;
  • for financial spread bets: 3 per cent; and
  • for all other spread bets: 10 per cent.

Pool betting duty based on percentage of bookmaker’s profits from bets that are not at fixed odds and are not on horse or dog racing is 15 per cent.


Lottery duty based on percentage of the price paid or payable on taking a ticket or chance in a lottery is 12 per cent.

Gaming machines

Machine games duty based on percentage of net takings from dutiable machine games:

  • games with a maximum cost to play not more than £0.20 and a maximum cash prize not more than £10: 5 per cent;
  • games with a cost to play between £0.21 and £5 and a maximum cash prize of £11 or more: 20 per cent; and
  • games with a maximum cost to play of more than £5: 25 per cent.

If a machine has more than one type of game, the applicable rate is that for the highest rated game and it applies to all takings from the machine.


Gambling at a casino in the United Kingdom (gaming duty), based on gross gambling yield for a six-month accounting period:

  • the first £2,423,500: 15 per cent;
  • the next £1,670,500: 20 per cent;
  • the next £2,925,500: 30 per cent;
  • the next £6,175,500: 40 per cent; and
  • the remainder: 50 per cent.

The majority of gambling activities are exempt from VAT.