Is it illegal to own a slot machine in the UK?

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Slots are the fastest-growing casino game. This is true both in terms of popularity and innovation. It is estimated that slots account for 70% of all online gambling which averaged at about 10 billion British Pounds of profits between 2018 and 2019. This number is likely to have risen since then.

Perhaps the rate of new games being released is one of the factors making up these huge numbers – we see dozens of new slot games slots baby being released every month from industry-leading slot developers, all with new technologies, features and cutting-edge design. Slot players are kept excited through constant innovation and improvement of existing games.

Owning a slot machine can be highly profitable. Whether you’re looking for a single piece of equipment for your pub or a few one-armed bandits for an arcade or a leisure centre, you’ve come to the right place. Owning a slot machine can be legal in the UK by completing a few steps, which we outline in this article. 

Amusement-only machines 

Not all slot machines operate using money. Some of them can be amusement-only types of machines, where no money or tokens are paid out by the machine. Such devices include skill-based games (quiz-machines) or any other kind of machine which doesn’t operate using money or pre-paid tokens. If this is what you’re looking to acquire, then you do not need a license to own these kinds of machines. 

Gaming machines 

These are money-operated machines which are a common sight in pubs, bingo halls, arcades and casinos. Commonly referred to as fruit machines or slot machines, these gaming machines provide games of chance where the prizes awarded are in money or tokens that can be exchanged for money or prizes. 

  • To legally acquire this type of machine you will need a Gaming Machine License. To legally operate this machine in any venue you will also need a premises license for that venue.
  • There are some premises where you cannot place a gaming machine in, even if you own a Gaming License. Such premises include fast-food restaurants and minicab offices.
  • A Gaming Machine License costs £330 and is renewed on a yearly basis. 

The UK Gambling Commission 

To acquire your license, you will need to do so through the UK Gambling Commission. This is a centralised regulatory body for all things gambling in Great Britain, be it licenses, laws, rules or complaints about a gambling business.

To successfully acquire a Gaming Machine License, you are likely to undergo several checks such as criminal history record and also the RNG testing of your slot machine. RNG is an essential component in every slot machine and is responsible for the outcomes of the spins. The RNG creates series of random numbers on which these outcomes are based. To legally operate a slot machine, its RNG must be tested by one of the 3rd party RNG-testing companies. They test the RNG for fairness, quality and overall performance. 

  • Acquire your Gaming Machine License by contacting the UK Gambling Commission. 

Conclusion 

It is only legal to own a slot machine in the UK if you’ve got a Gaming Machine License. When you acquire one, you can operate your slot machine as you please (with the exception of fast-food restaurants and minicab offices).

Owning a slot machine can be profitable both directly and indirectly – both the machine and the visiting customers will bring in profits. To find out more about the Gaming Machine License visit the UK Gambling Commission’s website.

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