With the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005, the law in the UK has been redefined and it is somewhat easier to establish a gambling-based businesses.

We are one of a small number of firms that have specialised in this niche area of law since before the reforms and we have provided training to enforcement agencies on the law as well as assisting clients in setting up their gambling operations, both within the UK and abroad.  Our lawyers clients have included some of the largest names in the gambling industry in the UK, smaller family-run businesses and offshore companies.
We offer a fixed-fee initial consultation to deal with enquiries, which can be undertaken over the telephone, via our website or by a meeting.  If you are planning to enter this particular business area for the first time, we recommend this approach before you embark on any development of your project.


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In simple terms, you may need a licence if you undertake an activity that could be classed as playing a game that ;

  • involves both an element of chance and an element of skill,
  • involves an element of chance that can be eliminated by superlative skill,
  • is presented as involving an element of chance

or if you

  • invite others to gamble
  • provide, operate or administer arrangements for gambling by others, or
  • participate in the operation or administration of gambling by others

There are a number of different licences that may be required:

The Operating Licence :

An operating licence is required for most gambling activities except those undertaken in relation to clubs, including the manufacture and repair of gambling machines as well as the provision of gambling facilities such as a betting shop. Application fees payable by operators to the Gambling Commission, start at £988 excluding any legal costs. Annual maintenance fees also have to be paid.

The Personal Licence :

Unless exempted under the “small operator” criteria, personal licences are required for those who are involved in activities such as the receipt of money for gambling or the marketing of the business. Personal Licences are split into two types – Functional Licences, for those who undertake activities such as receiving or paying money or who can influence the outcome of gambling and Management Licences for those involved in marketing, business development or other specified management functions

The Premises Licence :

Unlike Personal and Operators licences, premises licences are granted by the District or Unitary Council for the area. As the name implies, these are licences that permit trading at particular locations, once an Operators Licence (and personal licences, if applicable) has been obtained or at least applied for. Fees for Premises Licences will vary from Council to Council, up to the prescribed maximum. As with Operating Licences, there is an annual maintenance fee to be paid in addition to the application fee.

Applying for a licence can be a daunting process, especially if you do not already have the necessary paperwork in place. We can guide you through the process and complete the necessary forms for you.

For certain activities such as raffles, lotteries and the use of some gaming machines, it may be possible to claim an exemption from the legislation or to apply for a permit instead of a full licence.

Please feel free to contact us by e-mail if you would like advice on whether a particular activity will be caught by the legislation and we will respond with an informal opinion as soon as possible.

If you would like us to assist you by making applications on your behalf, or you have a question that you would like to ask, contact us by clicking here to send an e-mail or fill out our enquiry form

We believe in being transparent about the fees that we charge.  Our basic application for a simple operating licence starts at £1,000+VAT plus disbursements and premises licences start at £650+VAT and disbursements.  Personal licences start at £250+VAT.  If the work is more complicated, then an additional fee is charged depending on the complexity.  We will be happy to provide you with a quote before you confirm that you wish to instruct us.