Gambling licensing policy

Last updated: 1 April 2022

Betting premises

Betting premises are the most common form of premises licensed by the Licensing Authority for gambling in Buckinghamshire.

Children are not permitted to enter, or be employed at, any premises with a betting premises licence.

Licensed betting premises are subject to a variety of conditions. Premises licences, granted by the Licensing Authority, are subject to mandatory, default and possible additional conditions imposed by the Licensing Authority. They are also subject to conditions and Licensing Codes of Practice by virtue of operating licences and personal licences issued by the Gambling Commission.

Permitted hours

Licensed betting premises are only permitted to offer gambling facilities between 7am and 10pm unless the licensing authority has granted a variation to extend these hours.

The Licensing Authority is concerned that earlier or later opening hours may attract more vulnerable people, such as those who are intoxicated or who have gambling addictions.

The Licensing Authority also has concerns that licensed betting premises operators may seek to extend the permitted hours for the primary purpose of making gaming machines available to customers for longer. As a consequence, where an applicant is seeking additional hours, the Licensing Authority will expect their application to demonstrate that robust measures will be in place to protect the vulnerable and that additional hours are not being sought to take advantage of the gaming machine entitlement.

Gaming machines

Holders of betting premises licences may make available for use up to four gaming machines of category B, C or D. Regulations state that category B machines at betting premises are restricted to sub-category B2, B3 and B4 machines; the most common form of gaming machine in licensed betting premises, Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs), fall under this category.

There has been much debate in relation to FOBT's (B2's) and the potential for addiction when playing these machines. The maximum permitted stake for category B2 gaming machines was reduced from £100 to £2 with effect from 1st April 2019.

Visit the Gambling Commission's website for more information on machine categories.

The Licensing Authority has the power to restrict the number of betting machines (bet receipt terminals), their nature and the circumstances in which they are available for use by way of conditions.

Essentially, betting machines allow customers to place bets in the same way that they can at the betting shop counter without the need for staff interaction. When considering imposing conditions, the Licensing Authority will take into account the following, among other factors:

  • the size and physical layout of the premises
  • the number of counter positions
  • the ability of staff to monitor the use of machines by children or vulnerable people, people under the influence of drink or drugs and those involved in criminal activity, for example money laundering