Gambling licence (known as a Personal Functional Licence)

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Aim of this information

This information is designed to set out how a criminal record can impact on getting a Personal Gambling Licence (known as a Personal Functional Licence).


Why is this important?

Having a criminal record is not a bar to being issued with a Personal Functional Licence. However, it is important that you know what cautions or convictions you need to disclose and how they will be dealt with.



The Gambling Commission state that:

“any individual who performs any function which enables them to influence the outcome of gambling or relates to the receiving or paying of money in connection with gambling will require a Personal Functional Licence.”

Details of other types of gambling licence can be found on the Gambling Commission website.


Licence applications

When considering the suitability of an applicant, the Gambling Commission will take account of some of the following in deciding whether or not to issue a Licence:-

  • Identity and ownership – Verification of your identity and any other person relevant to the application will be required by way of copies of your driving licence, passport and NI number.
  • Finances – Depending on the type of application you are making, you may be required to submit financial documents.
  • Integrity – Your honesty and trustworthiness will be assessed
  • Competence – You will need to provide details of your experience, expertise, qualifications and employment history.
  • Criminality – You will be asked to provide details of your criminal record

Guidance on completing the online Personal Functional Licence application can be found here.


What information about my criminal record do I need to disclose?

Personal Functional Licences (PFL) are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. See here for further guidance.

The question about criminal records on the PFL application form is as follows:-

Please provide details of any criminal legal action which has been taken against you.

All current (i.e. unspent) convictions must be declared. In the case of convictions for relevant offences, previous (i.e. spent) convictions must also be declared’.

Details of relevant offences can be found here. Common offences defined as ‘relevant’ include theft, burglary and handling stolen goods.

It should be noted that the Gambling Commission will carry out Disclosure and Barring Service checks which will show all cautions and convictions unless they are eligible for filtering and for this reason, you may want to consider disclosing all cautions and convictions which would be declared on your DBS certificate.


How are criminal convictions dealt with?

The Gambling Commission state that they will not automatically refuse your licence application if you have a criminal record. In assessing your application they will take the following into account:-

  • how serious the offence was
  • how relevant it is to the role
  • how long ago it was committed

They do say however:

We take a serious view when applicants do not state previous convictions on the application form and will always contact the applicant to ask why this was not declared. We check details of cautions, reprimands and spent convictions as well as current convictions’.


Have you been granted a licence with a criminal record?

We’re looking for examples of where people with convictions have been granted a licence with a criminal record so that we can include details here to help give people confidence to apply.

If you’ve been granted a licence with a criminal record, please email us or get in touch to let us know the details – your personal details will be kept confidential and anonymous.


For more information

  1. Practical self-help information – More information on standard DBS checks can be found here.
  2. To discuss this issue with others – Read and share your experiences on our online forum


Get involved

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  1. Comment on this information (below)
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  3. Discuss your views and experiences with others on our online peer forum
  4. Share your personal story by contributing to our online magazine, theRecord
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