Gambling: Operating Licences

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London betting and gaming lawyers for gambling operating licences

Remote Gambling

Whether operators are to provide gambling facilities to British consumers (B2C) or if gambling facilities are to be provided in a situation where there is no direct relationship with the end-user (B2B), a Remote Operating Licence (B2C) or Game Host Licence (B2B) must be obtained from the Gambling Commission. A game host licence can only be obtained by the holder of or applicant for a remote gambling software licence.

  • Casino (including slots and poker)
  • Bingo
  • Betting
  • Lotteries

Applications can be made for more than one sector and a combined licence issued. It is a condition of B2C Remote Operating Licences, that gambling software is sourced from a Gambling Commission licensed software provider. An operating licence applicant must therefore ensure its supplier is duly licensed.

Additionally, where it is intended to locate at least one piece of remote gambling equipment in Great Britain, it is necessary to obtain a remote operating licence from the Gambling Commission, regardless of whether the facilities for gambling are to be used in Great Britain.

Under the Gambling Act 2005, the Gambling Commission is required to have regard to the licensing objectives when considering applications for all gambling operating licences, in order to decide the suitability of the applicant to carry out the activities.

The Licensing Objectives are:

(a) preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime,

(b) ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and

(c) protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

The assessment is broken down into distinct areas:

(a) The integrity of the applicant or of a person relevant to the application

(b) The Competence of the applicant or of a person relevant to the application to carry on the licensed activities in a manner consistent with pursuit of the licensing objectives;

(c) The financial and other circumstances of the applicant or of a person relevant to the application (and, in particular, the resources likely to be available for the purpose of carrying on the licensed activities).

Applications must be made online and require full details of the following:

  • Ownership structure of the applicant company.
  • Group structure of all companies under common ownership.
  • The management structure of the applicant company.
  • A financial declaration from anyone who holds 10% or more equity in the applicant company.
  • Details of anyone who holds 3% or more equity in the applicant company.
  • A detailed business plan including financial projections (in the case of a new company) or audited accounts for an existing operation.
  • Copies of all licences held by the applicant and group companies.
  • Policy documentation demonstrating how the applicant and management team will comply with the Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (known as LCCP), the 2005 Gambling Act and related consumer protection legislation, including GDPR and advertising codes.

In addition, an Anti Money Laundering ("AML") risk assessment must be undertaken and produced. The risk assessment is then used to produce policies and controls to mitigate those risks. The risk assessment and a review of the AML policy must be updated annually. All other policy documents must be kept under constant review to reflect the regular updates to LCCP.

If a licence is granted but the operation is not launched within 18 months, the Commission will call for evidence that the licence is still required. If it is not satisfied that the licence is needed then it will either request that the operator surrenders it or begin a Section 116 review, in order to revoke the licence.

Non-Remote Gambling

Like with remote gambling, the Gambling Act authorises the Gambling Commission to grant operating licences to non-remote gambling operators, by sector. However, when applying for a licence, the applicant must identify one or more premises where gambling activity will take place. Similar supporting documentation to that required by remote operators, including an AML risk assessment, is submitted with the application.

Once an Operating Licence has been applied for application can be made for the requisite gambling premises licence to the Licensing Authority in whose area the premises are situated. For more information on land based gambling