Illegal siting of gaming machines

Illegal siting of gaming machines

This is an issue we get phone calls about regularly asking if we can have machines in our kebab shop or is a fruit machine allowed in a certain location which is not visible.  If you have any concerns about the machine you currently have please feel free to contact us at Comrie as we have over 50 years experience dealing with fruit machines in pubs and clubs.

You cannot just site a gaming machine anywhere, there are rules and regulations that have to be adhered to.

You cannot site gaming machines in takeaways, cafes, food shops, minicab and taxi offices, non-arcade and other unlicensed premises.

Anyone allowing gaming machines to be used on these premises may be prosecuted under the Gambling Act 2005 with a maximum fine of £5,000 and/or 51 weeks imprisonment (six months in Scotland).

In order to site gaming machines on allowable premises, some form of premises-based authorisation is required from your local authority. In addition to this an operating licence from the Gambling Commission may also be required.

There are three types of premises-based permission;

  • A gambling premises licence from a licensing authority (typically for an adult gaming centre, for bingo, betting)
  • An alcohol premises licence from a licensed authority (typically for a pub, restaurant, club)
  • A gaming machine permit from a licensing authority (typically for clubs)

There is an exemption with genuine skill with prizes machines (SWPs). This type of machine can be sited with any permissions. SWPs must not have any mechanism that determines the outcome of the game, such as a compensator or other mechanism that makes the outcome dependant on chance. A game that contains an element of change (unless it is so slight that it can reasonably be disregarded) is a gaming machine.

There are no statutory limit in place regulating stakes and prizes for SWPs. However, SWPs offering a maximum prize greater than 350 are unlikely to be commercially viable and are therefore more likely to be gaming machines. It is important to assure yourself that any such machine is not a gaming machine prior to siting it in your premises.

In the past machines have been markets as a SWP machines offering games designed to look like recognised games of chance 9such as roulette, bingo or poker). Such machines are gaming machines and cannot be sited as SWPs.

To ensure that you stay within the law, if you are approached to site a gaming machine that you obtain the machine supplier’s full contact details and the supplier’s Gambling Commission operating licence number.

You should always be vigilant, ensuring that when you are approached to site a machine being marketed as a SWP machine, that you are satisfied that the machine is a genuine SWP and is not a gaming machine.

Further details are always available at:



Posted in Information | Leave a comment


Recent Posts