What is gambling software?

Gambling software is computer software that is used in connection with remote gambling. A gambling software licence is issued by the Gambling Commission.

The Gambling Act 2005 regulates gambling in Great Britain. Under s.42 of the Gambling Act 2005, it is a criminal offence to manufacture, supply, install or adapt “gambling software” unless the entity holds a software licence issued by the Gambling Commission.

Who needs a gambling software licence?

Under the Gambling Commission’s “Licence codes and conditions of practice” (“LCCP”), it is a condition of remote casino, bingo and betting licences that all gambling software used by a licensee must have been manufactured, supplied, installed or adapted by the holder of a gambling software operating licence.

What are the requirements for gambling software licences?

The requirement for GB licensed remote gambling operators to source their gambling software from Commission licensed gambling software operators came into force on 31 March 2015. Prior to that date, those supplying gambling software did not require a licence. In anticipation of the change, the Commission issued an industry advice note in June 2014 called “What is gambling software?”. In this helpful advice note, the Commission explained that it did not consider general business software used also by non-gambling businesses to fall within the definition of gambling software (e.g. Microsoft, Oracle or Apple applications).

What software falls within the definition required for a gambling software licence?

The Commission considered gambling-specific application software to fall within the definition. This includes software used in virtual event web pages, virtual event control, bet capture/matching, settlement, random number generation and gambling transaction records.

The advice note states that “in the Commission’s view, the purpose of gambling software licensing is to ensure that those manufacturing software which can impact on the fairness of remote gambling do so in a regulated environment. At its core this generally means the software that accepts and records gambling transactions, determines the result, calculates and allocates any wins to the customer’s account. It would not include software developed more generally for associated activities such as performance analytics, affiliate and CRM management.”

If multiple entities are involved, who needs the gambling software licence?

The advice note also goes on to provide guidance regarding complex supply chains where multiple entities are involved in developing the ultimate remote gambling product. In these situations, the Commission will look at where the ultimate control of the development of the product sits. Where a business purchases a product where the control, design and development sits with the third-party developer, that developer needs a software licence. Where a business purchases time or skills but retains control over the design and content of the product, the business requires the software licence and the developer does not.

Do I need a gambling software licence?

It’s clearly important to investigate whether an entity requires a gambling software licence to avoid commission of a criminal offence. At Keystone Law, we regularly advise remote gambling clients about these situations and if necessary, we are experienced in submitting applications for gambling software licences. Often these licence applications are combined with casino host licences or more general remote gambling licences. Operators can also find themselves under investigation by the Gambling Commission for not having a gambling software licence or for purchasing gambling software from an unlicensed entity. We can assist in all of these situations, as experienced gambling law solicitors.