Apply for a gambling permit

Apply for an unlicensed family entertainment centre gaming machine permit

Unlicensed family entertainment centres, (uFECs) provide low stake gaming machines which typically appeal to children.

UFECs are only able to offer category D machines with a gaming machine permit.

How it works

Any number of category D machines can be made available with such a permit, although there may be other considerations, such as fire regulations and health and safety, to take into account.

For larger premises, machines are usually located in a designated or enclosed area. This is because FECs are legally defined as premises which are ‘wholly or mainly’ used for making gaming machines available. As a result, it is generally not permissible for large premises to comply with this definition, such as:

  • entire shopping centres
  • airports
  • motorway service stations

If an operator also wishes to also make category C machines available, they will need to apply for a premises licence.

To apply you must be:

  • 18 years or older
  • be able to demonstrate that there are policies and procedures in place to protect children from harm (see gambling policy).

Permits cannot be issued in respect of vessels or vehicles.

How to apply

Only the occupier, or proposed occupier, of the premises can apply.

To apply for a permit you will need to:

  1. download and complete the application form
  2. pay the correct fee of £300 online
  3. email your completed application to [email protected].

After you submit your application

We may grant or refuse an application for a permit having taken into account relevant guidance issued by the Gambling Commission.

If your permit is granted

If your permit is granted, we'll issue it as soon as possible. We may not attach conditions to a permit.

Your permit must be kept on the premises so it can be produced for inspection by a police, enforcement or council officer.

If we refuse your application

If we intend to refuse an application, we'll speak to you first before formally refusing the application.

You can then make a formal challenge, or representation, before a final decision is made.

If we still refuse your application, you can appeal the decision.

How long a permit is valid for

Your permit is valid for 10 years, unless it's:

  • surrendered
  • lapses (if the holder no longer occupies the premises)
  • renewed

Where a permit lapses due to death of the holder, bankruptcy or liquidation, the permit may remain in effect for a further 6 months.

The courts may order that a permit be forfeited if the holder is convicted of a relevant offence.

Renewing a permit

You can apply for the permit to be renewed within 6 months of the expiry date, but no later than 2 months before the expiry date.

The renewal procedure is the same as making a new application and the same fees apply.

Appealing a decision

If you've applied for a permit, or a permit renewal, and have been refused, you can appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days.

While you're waiting to hear about your permit renewal, your existing permit will still be valid until you receive a response.

If your application is refused, your existing permit will be valid until the appeal has been determined.

Change your permit

Changes can be made to:

  • Change of name (£25)
  • requesting a copy of a permit (£15)

Application fees apply.

Help with your application

If you need help making an application, contact [email protected].