How to obtain a betting licence


The gambling industry is made up of a number of individual betting businesses. General betting licences are usually for:

  • Bookmakers
  • Racecourse pool betting
  • Football, and other pool betting
  • The recent fantasy football competitions that have become popular over the last few years

The Gambling Commission regulates these types of betting. Note that the Gambling Commission does not regulate spread betting. It is the Financial Services Authority (FSA) that regulates this.

There are three types of betting licence you may have to obtain to allow legal betting to take place:

  • An operating licence
  • A personal management licence
  • A premises licence

Each of the types of betting licence you can apply for has different criteria and is designed for different types of gambling. The Gambling Commission’s website contains detailed information about each type of licence. You should ensure you have the right betting licence in place before you begin to operate your gambling business.

If you need an operating or personal management licence, you make your application via the Gambling Commission’s website. Their website contains all the forms you will need to complete. If your business is track betting, you won’t normally need an Operating Licence, as only Premises Licences are generally required for this type of gambling business.

If you need a premises licence to run a betting shop, you will need to contact your Local Authority. You should also have already applied to the Gambling Commission for an operating licence as well. You need to inform the following people and organisations within seven days of you applying for a premises licence:

  • Your local chief of police
  • Your local environment authority
  • Your local licensing authority child protection service
  • HM Revenue & Customs

It is the law that you must announce that you have applied for a premises licence either by advertising in your local newspaper, or by posting a notice on the premises you intend to use.
If you have any queries about your betting licence it is always advisable to contact a solicitor to ensure your application is lawful. And if you have had an application for a betting licence declined, a solicitor can help you appeal the decision.

What is my licence is refused?

If you make a formal application for any betting licences to the Gambling Commission or your Local Authority that are subsequently refused, you could make a formal complaint. Using the services of a solicitor to formalise your complaint is a prudent cause of action to ensure your complaint is legal and complies with all the current betting licences regulations.

If your betting licence applications are still refused, you could then look at court action if you believe they were turned down for no substantial reason, or you believe that your applications were not processed in full accordance with current regulations. If you do decide on court action, the service of a solicitor with licensing experience is absolutely essential to have available.

For information on gambling in a casino setting, see our guidance page on obtaining a casino licence.

Do you run a gambling business and are looking for assistance in applying for a betting licence? Caven works with specialist licensing solicitors who can assist you throughout the whole process, from the initial application stage to addressing any disputes which may arise at a later date. Please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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