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Bingo

There are two types of bingo:

  • cash bingo - where the stakes paid make up the cash prizes to be won;
  • prize bingo - where various prizes are to be won but are not necessarily related to the stakes paid.

How to apply for a Bingo Premises Licence

Commercial bingo operations need a bingo operating licence to operate Picture of bingo cardand some members of staff need personal licences. Both are available from the Gambling Commission. Please apply for these before applying for a Premises Licence.

Applicants will then need to send the following to the Licensing Unit:

The person making an application must give notice of the application to each of the responsible authorities.

Advertising the application

The applicant must publish a notice of their application:

  1. in a local newspaper circulating within the licensing authority’s area on at least one occasion during the period of 10 working days starting with the day after the day on which the application is made to the authority and
  2. by displaying a notice on the premises to which the application relates, in a place at which it can conveniently be read by members of the public from the exterior of the premises, for a period of no less than 28 consecutive days starting on the day on which the application is made to the licensing authority.

Granting a licence

Once an application has been determined and the Licensing Unit decides that it will grant a licence, the applicant will be issued a prescribed form called the notice of grant of application.

Where, on granting an application, the council exercises its power to attach one or more conditions to the licence, the notice will include an annex setting out the conditions and in relation to each condition, giving the council’s reasons for attaching it to the licence.

Where, on granting an application, the council exercises its power to exclude one or more conditions that would otherwise be attached to the licence, the notice will include an annex setting out the conditions to be excluded and the council’s reasons for excluding each one.

Where representations are made under section 161 of the Gambling Act 2005 in relation to an application which is granted by the council, the notice will include an annex setting out the representations and giving the council’s response to the representations.

Rejecting an application

If the council decides not to grant a licence, a notice of rejection will be issued by the Licensing Unit.

Splitting an existing licensed gambling premises

In submitting an application to split the premises it will be expected that the following measures are in place:

  • The primary activity of bingo should be available in all areas proposed.
  • The gaming machines must be an ancillary attraction to the premises.
  • A seating area must be provided for a minimum of eight people for the use and promotion of playing bingo. Full details of systems or machines used for playing bingo in these areas must be submitted with the application, such as Wizz Machines.
  • Separation of the premises must be clearly defined. It would be expected that a minimum requirement will be five foot (1.524m) high, clear Perspex barriers surrounding the premises where there are no fixed walls. Entrance and exit for the separate premises must be clearly marked on the plans and be of a size to comply with fire safety legislation, especially if occupancy levels have already been set for the building. A copy of plans must be submitted to the fire authority.
  • Each separate premises will require a notice (of similar size to the fire exit sign) that clearly defines that they are separate premises, for example by giving them a name such as Zone 1.
  • The premises should comply with the mandatory conditions and individual conditions relevant to the type of gambling premises.
  • Measures to help with the supervision of the extra premises: either an increase in staffing levels to permanently monitor these locations or a comprehensive CCTV system which does not block the line of sight and a mix of static and floating staff covering the whole site.
  • All legal notices must be displayed in each of the separate premises and not just at the entrance to the building.

No separate premises should be created at the entrance of the building. These areas must be kept clear of machines so as to not block or obstruct the view of staff who are monitoring people entering the premises. People waiting to get into the premises must not be able to start using the facilities of the premises until they have been checked by staff.

Application to vary the existing premises licence and the application(s) for new premises must be submitted at the same time.

If any of these areas effects a premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003, an application must be submitted to vary this licence at the same time.

Gaming machines entitlement

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) implemented an increase in stake for B3 gaming machines to £2 and has changed the number of B3 gaming machines permitted in bingo premises.

Bingo premises are entitled to make available a number of Category B gaming machines not exceeding 20 per cent of the total number of gaming machines which are available for use on the premises.

Licensed bingo premises in existence before 13 July 2011 are entitled to make available eight category B gaming machines, or 20 per cent of the total number of gaming machines, whichever is the greater.   

Bingo licences granted on or after 13 July 2011 but before 1 April 2014 are entitled to a maximum of eight category B gaming machines or 20 per cent of the total number of gaming machines, whichever is the greater; from 1 April 2014 these premises will be entitled to 20 per cent of the total number of gaming machines only. 

Operators who choose to make material changes to their existing licensed premises in order take advantage of the 20 per cent requirement you may need to apply for a licence variation. Licensed operators who are in any doubt about whether alterations to their premises will require a variation please contact the licensing team before proceeding.

There is no limit on Category C or D machines.

Mandatory conditions relevant to bingo establishments

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is empowered to make mandatory conditions by regulation that may apply to all premises licences or specified classes of licence.

The conditions are:

  • a prominent notice stating that people aged less than 18 years may not play bingo at every entrance;
  • a summary of the licence is to be displayed in a prominent place;
  • where people aged less than 18 years are admitted, a prominent notice must be placed at every entrance to any category B or C machine area, prohibiting entry by under-18s;
  • admission charges are to be prominently displayed at the principal entrance;
  • card costs and participation fees are to be displayed at the point of sale;
  • bingo rules are to be shown in a sign, leaflets or audio-visual guides;
  • there must be no entrance from a casino, adult gaming centre or betting premises (other than a track);
  • the layout of the premises is to be maintained in accordance with the plan;
  • where under-18s are permitted, any category B or C machine area is to be separated by a physical barrier, supervised to prevent entrance by under-18s and arranged to permit surveillance by staff or monitored closed-circuit television (CCTV);
  • the premises are not to be used for sale of tickets in a private or customer lottery or National Lottery;
  • automatic teller machines (ATMs) are to be located so that users must cease gambling to use them.

Default conditions relevant to bingo establishments

The Secretary of State is empowered to make default conditions by regulation, which may apply to all premises licences or specified classes of licence.

The conditions are:

  • times for bingo – 9am to midnight;
  • gaming machines may be used 24 hours a day.

Individual conditions

The licensing authority may attach individual conditions to non-fast track applications, new applications and variation applications. These conditions may apply to all of the premises or to specified parts of them.

The authority will ensure that the premises licence conditions are:

  • relevant to the need to make the proposed building suitable as a gambling facility;
  • directly related to the premises and the type of licence applied for;
  • reasonably related to the scale and type of premises and
  • reasonable in all other respects.

Prohibition

None of the conditions may:

  • require the premises to operate as a club;
  • limit stakes, fees, winnings or prizes;
  • alter the statutory permissions for gaming machines in licensed premises or override provisions of regulations relating to machines.

Christmas Day

All premises licences are subject to a condition that they may not be used to provide gambling facilities on Christmas Day.

Plans to be submitted with an application

All plans have to show:

  • the extent of the boundary or perimeter of the premises;
  • where the premises include or consist of one or more buildings, the location of any external or internal walls of such building;
  • where the premises form part of a building, the location of any external or internal walls of the building which are included in the premises;
  • where the premises are a vessel or part of a vessel, the location of any part of the sides of the vessel and of any internal walls of the vessel which are included in the premises;
  • the location of each point of entry to and exit from the premises, including, in each case, a description of the place from which entry is made or to which the exit leads.

Relevant to bingo establishments:

  • the location and extent of any part of the premises which will be used to provide facilities for gaming in reliance on the licence (other than those parts which include category B or C gaming machines);
  • the location and extent of any part of the premises in which category B or C gaming machines will be made available for use in reliance on the licence;
  • the nature and location of any barrier or other thing separating any part of the premises in which category B or C gaming machines will be made available for use from any other part of the premises.

For more information contact Licensing Unit by telephone: Licensing Services - 01634 337107 or 337108 / Enforcement - 01634 337112 or 337106 or by email: licensing@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Licensing Unit, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR