Gaming in clubs

Gambling law separates gaming that happens in clubs from gaming that happens in other alcohol licensed premises (such as pubs).

The law creates two types of club for the purposes of gaming: members' clubs (including miners' welfare institutes) and commercial clubs. This are differences between the type of gaming that can take place in the different type of clubs.

The Gambling Commission has produced detailed guidance on gaming in clubs and alcohol licensed premises, which can be downloaded here:

Gambling Commission - Advice on gaming in clubs and alcohol licensed premises

Gaming machine categories

Information on the different categories of gaming machine can be found on the Gambling Commission's website.

Club gaming permits

Members' clubs (including miners' welfare institutes) can apply for a club gaming permit which allows for the provision of no more than three gaming machines from categories B3A, B4, C or D. A club gaming permit also allows the club to provide equal chance gaming (subject to the conditions for exempt gaming described below), except that the limit on stakes and prizes is removed.

Club machine permits

If a club does not want to provide the full range of facilities permitted by a club gaming permit, or if they are a commercial club not permitted to provide non-machine gaming (other than exempt gaming under section 269 of the Act), then they may apply for a club machine permit.

Applications for permits

To apply for a club gaming permit or a club machine permit, a club should apply with the relevant fee to:

Licensing, Guildhall, High Street, Worcester, WR1 2EY

You can download the application form here:

Club gaming/machine permit application

The fees we currently charge under the Gambling Act 2005 can be found on our licensing fees and charges page.

Clubs that make gaming machines available have to comply with a code of practice, which has been drawn up by the Gambling Commission. This sets out rules about where machines can be placed and how they are operated. This code of practice can be found on the Gambling Commission website

For more information on permits visit the Gambling Commission website

Exempt gaming in clubs

Exempt gaming is equal chance gaming which is generally allowed in any club or alcohol licensed premises. Such gaming should be ancillary to the purposes of the premises. Such premises are automatically allowed to provide this type of gaming, as long as certain Government rules relating to stakes and prize limits are followed.

Equal chance gaming is gaming that does not involve staking against a bank and the chances of winning are equally favourable to all participants. It includes games such as backgammon, mah-jong, rummy, kalooki, dominoes, cribbage, bingo and poker.

The Government has set both daily and weekly prize limits for exempt gaming in clubs, which are set out in the Gambling Commission's advice on gaming in clubs and alcohol licensed premises, which can be downloaded here:

Gambling Commission - Advice on gaming in clubs and alcohol licensed premises

Specific advice on allowing poker in clubs is provided below:

Gambling Commission - Poker in clubs

If you are allowing exempt gaming in your club, this should be supervised by a nominated gaming supervisor and you must comply with the code of practice issued by the Gambling Commission, which can be downloaded from the Gambling Commission website.