Gambling licences

This guide tells you how to go about getting a licence to provide a gaming machine or to operate a small lottery.

Responsibility for licensing

The Gambling Commission is responsible for granting operating and personal gambling licences. Local licensing boards have power to license gambling premises within their area, as well as undertaking functions in relation to lower stake gaming machines and clubs and miners’ welfare institutes.

The Gambling Act 2005 also provides for a system of temporary and occasional use notices. These will authorise premises that are not licensed generally for gambling purposes to be used for certain types of gambling, for limited periods.

Statement of gambling policy

The Act contains three licensing objectives which underpin the new regulatory regime. These are:

  • preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime
  • ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
  • protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling

Licensing boards are required to prepare and publish a statement of the principles they intend to apply when exercising their functions.

Download our statement of gambling policy

Unlicensed family entertainment centres

Family entertainment centres do not require a premises licence.

An unlicensed family entertainment centre will only be able to offer category D machines –which incur the lowest level of charges and lowest level of prizes.

If the centre operator also wants to make category C machines available, they will need to apply for an operating licence from the Gambling Commission and a premises licence from the licensing board.

Licensed premises gaming machine permits

The Gambling Act provides an entitlement to up to two gaming machines of category C or D for use in alcohol licensed premises. To take advantage of this entitlement, the person who holds an on-sales licence must give notice to the licensing board of their intention to make gaming machines available for use. The fee for this is £50.

If the licensing board issues licensed premises gaming machine permits for any number of Category C or D machines this will replace, and not be in addition to, any automatic entitlement. Holders of alcohol licensed premises gaming machine permits must comply with a code of practice by the Gambling Commission on the location and operation of machines.

Registration of a non-commercial society

In Scotland, a lottery can be promoted on behalf of a society which is established and conducted:

  • for charitable purposes
  • for the purpose of enabling participation in, or supporting of, sport, athletics or a cultural activity
  • for any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain

Download a non-commercial society application form

The registration fee is £40. The annual fee is £20.


Non-commercial societies cannot be established with the sole purpose of promoting lotteries, but they can use lotteries to raise funds for their mainstream activities. To promote a small lottery, the society must be registered with the licensing board in the area where the society’s principal premises are situated.

To qualify under the small lottery rules:

  • at least 20% of the lottery proceeds are applied to a purpose for which the society is conducted
  • prizes must not exceed £25,000, whether in money, money's worth, or a combination of both
  • rollover prizes are only permitted if each other lottery which may be affected by the rollover is a small society lottery promoted by or on behalf of the same society, and subject to the terms of the preceding paragraph

The society must be licensed with the Gambling Commission if:

  • the total value of tickets to be put on sale per single lottery is more than £20,000


  • the aggregate value of tickets to be put on sale for all their lotteries in a calendar year is more than £250,000

Lottery tickets

Lotteries may involve the issue of physical or virtual tickets. The purchaser of a small society lottery ticket must receive a document which identifies:

  • the name of the promoting society
  • the price of the ticket, which must be the same for all tickets
  • the name and address of the member of the society who is designated as having responsibility at the society for promoting small lotteries, or the external lottery manager
  • either the date of the draw or the means by which the date can be determined

The requirement to provide this information can be satisfied if ticket buyers can retain the message electronically or print it.

  • lottery tickets may only be sold by persons over age 16 to persons over age 16
  • tickets should not be sold in any street, including any bridge, road, lane, footway, subway, square, court or passage, including passages through enclosed premises such as shopping malls
  • tickets may be sold from a kiosk, in a shop, or door-to-door


The promoting society of a small lottery must send the licensing board the following information:

  • the arrangements for the lottery - specifically the date when tickets were available for sale or supply, the dates of any draw and the value of prizes, including any donated prizes and any rollover
  • the proceeds of the lottery
  • the amounts deducted by the promoters of the lottery in providing prizes, including prizes in accordance with any rollovers
  • the amounts deducted by the promoters of the lottery in respect of costs incurred in organising the lottery
  • whether any expenses incurred in connection with the lottery were not paid for by deduction from the proceeds, and, if so, the amount of expenses and the sources from which they were paid
  • the amount applied to the purpose for which the promoting society is conducted

The return must be:

  • sent to the licensing board no later than three months after the date of the lottery draw, or in the case of ‘instant lotteries’ such as scratch cards, within three months of the last date on which tickets were on sale
  • signed by two members of the society, who must be 18 or older, are appointed for the purpose in writing by the society or its governing body, and accompanied by a copy of their letters of appointment. Digital signatures are acceptable if the return is sent electronically.

The licensing board retains returns for a minimum of three years from the date of the lottery draw. The return will be made available for inspection by the public for a minimum period of 18 months following the date of the draw.

Club gaming and club machine permits

Clubs can apply for a club gaming permit or a club machine permit.

Club gaming permit

These permits are available to members' clubs, but not to commercial clubs. A club gaming permit allows clubs to offer gaming facilities in addition to those they are allowed to offer under their exempt gaming allowance (section 269 and 270 of the Gambling Act 2005).

A club gaming permit authorises the club to provide:

  • up to 3 gaming machines of category B, C, or D, in any combination)
  • equal chance gaming
  • prescribed games of chance

These conditions will apply to all permits. The licensing board may apply further conditions:

  • only members or guests of members may participate in the gaming
  • nobody under age 18 has access to a category B or C gaming machine
  • the club complies with any codes of practice issued by the Gambling Commission about the location and operation of its gaming machines

Club machine permit

A club machine permit authorises the club to provide up to 3 gaming machines which must be category B, C or D, in any combination.

How to apply

Download a club gaming or machine permit application

Send your completed form and additional documents to the licensing team, Stirling Council at the address on the form. You must send a copy of the application and any accompanying documents to the Gambling Commission and Police Scotland within 7 days. The Gambling Commission and/or Police Scotland may lodge an objection to the application within the period of 28 days from the date on which the application was made to the licensing board.


If you are applying as an existing operator, you must also send a copy of your registration certificate. The application fee is £100 for existing operators and £200 for new operators. The annual fee is £50 and must be paid within 30 days of the issue of the permit and annually before each anniversary of the issue of the permit.

Permits last for 10 years and can be renewed from 3 months to 6 weeks before the expiry date. The application fee for renewal is £200.

If you want to apply to change the conditions of your permit, the fee is £100.

The cost for a duplicate permit is £15.


To get in touch with the licensing office please, email or phone 01786 233612.