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A monopoly on games

Is my Monopoly quiz machine categorised as a gaming machine?

Q: I’ve recently been approached by our Local Council Licensing Officer regarding our Monopoly quiz machine. In addition to the quiz machine we have a couple of gaming machines with £100 jackpots. As I understood it I notified the Council that I would have the two gaming machines and that they could then be made available to customers. The Licensing Officer has now told me that I may need to apply for a licensed premises gaming machine permit because the Monopoly quiz machine is also a gaming machine. Is he right?

A: The short answer is that no, he isn’t, at least not in the case of the Monopoly quiz game. These types of games such as Monopoly, Eliminator, Pints win Prizes, and indeed other more traditional arcade games such as Pac Man and Space Invaders (am I showing my age?) are not gaming machines for the purposes of the Gambling Act 2005 and do not require authorisation for them to be made available to customers. The £100 jackpot machines are Category C gaming machines. They do require authorisation and you have correctly obtained that authorisation by notifying the Council, and presumably paying a £50 fee, to be able to make them available to the public. Games such as Monopoly are generally called Skill with Prizes or SWP. There are a number of features of SWPs which mean they are not gaming machines, for instance if you can win a prize by skill alone, and the outcome of the game does not depend on chance, then it would likely be an SWP. Whether a machine is a gaming machine or an SWP is an important distinction and would be one made by the manufacturer when the game was first built and made available for sale. If you do need to clarify whether a particular type of machine is one for gaming or one which is skill-based then I suggest you speak to your supplier and obtain written confirmation from them. In the case of Monopoly it should be straightforward but with some other games it can be a little more tricky.

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