Gambling overview

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The Gambling Act 2005 legislation came into force in September 2007. The Central Government Department with responsibility for the legislation is the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. 

The Act comprehensively updates existing gambling laws that are several decades old, providing new powers and protections for both new and old forms of gambling. The Act has three clear objectives:

  • Keeping gambling crime free
  • Making sure that gambling is fair and open
  • Protecting children and vulnerable adults

The Act covers two main activities: 

  • Providing facilities for gambling; and 
  • Using premises for gambling

In either case, you must hold the appropriate permission. Permission may come from a licence, permit, or registration granted according to the Act, or from an exemption given by the Act.

Local Authorities licence gambling premises within their area, as well as undertaking functions in relation to lower stake gaming machines and clubs and miners' welfare institutes.

Premises which require a Premises Licence include:

  • casinos
  • bingo halls
  • adult gaming centres
  • licensed family entertainment centres
  • betting permits for gaming machines in pubs and other alcohol licensed premises

Licensing Authorities will undertake inspections and enforce the conditions on these issued licenses, permits and notices.

The Gambling Commission shares the responsibility for granting gaming and betting permissions with local Licensing Authorities. You will need to contact them for information on Operating and Personal Licence requirements. 

Statement of Principles

Licensing Authorities are required by the Gambling Act to publish a Statement of Principles which they propose to apply when exercising their functions. This statement must be reviewed and published at least every three years and ours came into effect on 1st February 2019.

Licences and permits issued by Ipswich Borough Council

We issue licences for:

  • Casinos
  • Betting Premises - as well as betting shops this also includes those parts of tracks that allow on-course betting
  • Bingo Clubs
  • Adult Gaming Centres - excludes entry to children
  • Family Entertainment Centres (licensed); and
  • Race Tracks - including horse and dog tracks

We issue permits for:

  • Gaming machines in members' clubs and licensed premises
  • Gaming in members' clubs
  • Prize gaming
  • Unlicensed family entertainment centres
  • Temporary Use Notices
  • Provisional Statements.

Small Society Lotteries and Selling Raffle Tickets

Any society that wishes to promote small lotteries, raffles, prize draws or similar, in order to raise funds for a purpose of a society, must be registered with the local authority for the area in which the principal offices of the society are situated. You can apply online for this registration.

Find out more about Small Society Lotteries.

Remote Gambling

Gambling in which persons, participate by the use of remote communication, including the internet, telephone, television, radio or any other kind of electronic or other technology for facilitating communication is regulated by the Act.  Further guidance can be obtained from the Gambling Commission

Takeaway and Taxi offices

Gaming machines have not been permitted in takeaway food outlets and taxi offices since the 1 August 2007. If you have seen a gaming machine in a takeaway or taxi office please contact us.


Requests for a review of a Premises Licence can be made by interested parties or Responsible Authorities. However, it is for the Licensing Authority to decide whether the review is to be carried out.  This decision will be made on the basis of whether the request for the review is relevant to the matters listed below:

  •  In accordance with any relevant Code of Practice issued by the Gambling Commission
  •  In accordance with any relevant guidance issued by the Gambling Commission
  •  Is reasonably consistent with the Licensing Objectives; and
  •  In accordance with the Authority's Statement of Licensing Principles.

Requests for reviews will not be considered by the Licensing Authority where:

  •  The request is frivolous or vexatious
  •  It will not cause the authority to consider altering, revoking or suspending the licence; or
  •  It is substantially the same as previous representations or requests for review

The Licensing Authority can also initiate a review of a licence if it feels it appropriate.

Guidance sheets for Gambling Act 2005 Activities

Want to hold a race, poker, bingo or casino night, or require general information on gambling in alcohol licensed premises or clubs? The Gambling Commission issue advice leaflets which can be found on their website

Gambling Act Fees

Details about our licence fees can be found online

Contact Details

Licensing and Enforcement,
Ipswich Borough Council,
3W Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,

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01473 432063