United Kingdom at a Glance
Vendor License Exemptions Available:
Ownership Disclosure Threshold:
Political Contribution Restrictions:
Institutional Investor Waiver:
GBP 100 - GBP 16,274
Term of License:
Deadline to Reapply:
The Gambling Commission
More The Gambling Commission Info
Commercial gaming is regulated by the Gambling Commission (“Commission”) in the United Kingdom, which enforces the Gambling Act of 2005 (“Act”). As part of its duties, the Commission licenses and regulates gaming machine and gaming machine software providers actively conducting business in the United Kingdom.
Manufacturer and Supplier Licensing Requirements
Under the Act, manufacturers and suppliers of gaming machines must receive an operator license from the Commission before manufacturing, selling, or offering for sale any gaming machine.1
The Act defines “gaming machine” as “a machine which is designed or adapted for use by individuals to gamble (whether or not it can also be used for other purposes).”).2
However, there are several exemptions to this definition, including home computers, telephones, and other devices not primarily used for gaming purposes. Also excluded are fully or semi-automated casino games.3
Games are divided into categories based on the maximum bet and prize awarded. Categories range from “A” (unlimited maximum wager and payout) to “D” with subcategories for each lettered category. The Commission also categorizes operator licenses among those who supply machines that are used remotely or non-remotely. Depending on the types of gaming machines offered, a manufacturer or supplier may need to obtain multiple operator licenses. Because of the complexity of the Commission’s licensing system, it is advised that applicants first read the “Operator License Application Forms Guidance Notes” prior to completing the Operator License Application Form.
Application fees are determined based on a number of factors including anticipated sales and types of gaming machines offered. Fees range from £100 to £16,274.
In addition, there is an annual fee associated with each licensed entity after a license has been issued.
Required Documents and Information
The following information is needed to complete the Operator License Application Form:
1. Basic identification information (including alternate addresses or trade names);
2. Description of company;
3. Business registration information;
4. Whether associated businesses have any license applications issued by or pending before the Commission;
5. List of the types of operating and ancillary licenses being sought;
6. List of any remote operating licenses sought;
7. If offering a linked gaming system, then information regarding the operating costs for the linked gaming system;
8. List of locations where gambling-related business or services occur, including the specific functions of those business locations;
9. List of all individuals involved in the management of the company who are responsible for the ongoing operation of the applicant (includes officers, directors, supervisory managers, etc.);
10. List of all individuals who have a 3 percent or more interest in the applicant;
11. List of criminal, civil, and regulatory convictions recorded against the company or its officers;
12. List of investigations for gaming-related offenses or violations;
13. List of gaming licenses held in any jurisdictions;
14. Description of applicant’s policies and procedures for preventing the business from being used for criminal purposes;
15. Description of applicant’s policies and procedures for ensuring that gaming activities are conducted in an open and fair manner; and
16. Description of applicant’s policies and procedures for ensuring that children and vulnerable persons are not exposed to gaming activity.4
The following documents are needed to complete the Operator License Application Form:
1. Organization chart;
2. Most recent annual accounts for the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s parent company;
3. Any quarterly or supplemental accounts issued since the last annual account;
4. Financial projections for the 12-month period following submission of the application;
5. A business plan;
6. Organizational documents;
7. Copies of policies and procedures related to gaming activities (see 14, 15, and 16 above); and
8. Copies of employment contracts for on-course representatives.5
Key Persons Licensing Requirements
For each person listed as involved in the management of the company who are responsible for the ongoing operation of the applicant, a Personal License Application form must be completed. Persons holding 10 percent or more interest in the applicant must also complete the Personal Management License application form.
Required Documents and Information
The following information is required to complete the Personal License Application:
1. Basic identification information for the business applicant;
2. Basic identification information of the applicant;
3. Passport and citizenship information;
4. Residence history, past five years;
5. Proof of employment with the applicant;
6. List of employment responsibilities;
7. List of all current and past criminal convictions;
8. List of any ongoing criminal investigations;
9. List of any civil or regulatory actions;
10. List of gaming licenses previously or currently held;
11. Employment history, past five years;
12. List of relevant employment training or certifications;
13. List of personal references;
14. Bankruptcy history;
15. Spousal information;
16. List of non-gaming licenses held, past five years;
17. List of professional memberships; and
18. List of assets and liabilities.6
The following documents are required to complete the Personal License Application:
1. Police reports from applicant’s home jurisdiction;
2. Photo identification form; and
3. Appropriate identification documents7
(driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, etc.).8
Disclosure and Reporting Requirements
After a license has been issued, a licensee has the duty to report certain regulatory events within five days of their occurrence. In addition, regular regulatory returns must be made depending on the type of license issued. The Commission maintains a list of regulatory events and reports that must be reported to the Commission on its website, available at: www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/gambling_sectors/gaming_machines/holding_a_licence-_what_you_ne/information_that_must_be_provi.aspx,
Gaming Technology Standards
Unlike other jurisdictions, there is no statutory minimum payout percentage required of gaming machines. However, each machine must clearly display the payout percentage or odds of winning a prize to the user.9
No gaming machine may directly accept credit cards or other similar methods of payment.
1Gambling Act, 2005, c. 19, pt. 10(243).
2Gambling Act, 2005, c. 19, pt. 10(235)(1).
3Gambling Act, 2005, c. 19, pt. 10(235)(2).
4'Operator License Application Form.'
5'Operator License Application Form.'
6'Personal License Application Form.'
7See 'Personal License Application Form – Guidance Notes,' p. 6 for complete list of accepted identification documents.
8'Personal License Application Form.'
9See 'About Gaming Machines,' Gambling Commission website, www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/gambling_sectors/gaming_machines/about_gaming_machines/about_gaming_machines.aspx.