General Article What is gambling?

Topic Selected: Gambling

In the Gambling Act 2005 gambling is defined as betting, gaming or participating in a lottery. That definition distinguishes between activities which need to be licensed and other activities which do not. 

We categorise different gambling activities into what we call sectors:

  • Arcades (those for adults and those for families)
  • Betting (online, at an event or in a high street bookmakers)
  • Bingo (online or in a bingo hall)
  • Casino (online or in a casino)
  • Lotteries (raffles, tombolas, sweepstakes, etc.)
  • Gaming machines (fruit machines, fixed odds betting terminals, etc.)


There are three types of amusement arcade:

  • adult gaming centres (AGCs)
  • licensed family entertainment centres (FECs)
  • unlicensed family entertainment centres (UFECs). 

AGCs and FECs require a licence from the Gambling Commission. UFECs require a permit from the local licensing authority. 

Gaming machines (fruit machines, slot machines) on arcade premises fall into different gaming machine categories depending on...

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