Frequently Asked Questions
- the person applying for the licence is an individual person who has attained the age of 18; is fit to operate an amusement game centre; will adequately and personally supervise the operation of that centre; and is not the agent, representative or servant of any person whose AGCL has been revoked or whose application to renew an AGCL has been refused; and
- the place of the proposed operation is suitable for the operation of an amusement game centre and is located in an area suitable for such operation.
According to section 2 of the Gambling Ordinance (Cap. 148) (the Ordinance), “gaming” means the playing of or at any game for winnings in money or other property whether or not any person playing the game is at risk of losing any money or other property.
“Game” means a game of chance and a game of chance and skill combined and a pretended game of chance or chance and skill combined, and also means any game whatever in which - (a) a bank is kept by one or more of the players exclusively of the others; or (b) the chances of the game are not equally favourable to all the players, including among the players, the banker or other person by whom the game is managed or against whom the players stake, play or bet.
Under section 3 of the Ordinance, if the game is a game of amusement with prizes, the organisation and conduct of which should obtain an AWPL; otherwise, the concerned gaming event is unlawful.
A typical toy capsule machine will randomly dispense an item upon payment. A customer will be clearly informed of the type(s) of items available in that particular machine, and the monetary values of items available in the machine are largely the same (e.g. same type of product but in different colors) and unlikely to exceed the payment by a customer. In such circumstances, the operation of such machine, which is similar to other common means of selling products, would generally not constitute “gaming”. An AWPL is therefore not required.
However, if the monetary value of some items inside the toy capsule machine is significantly higher than that of the other items, obtaining an item from such machine may constitute “gaming”. The operation of such machine is regulated by the Ordinance and hence an AWPL is required.
The above example about toy capsule machines is for general reference only. Whether the business operation modes of toy capsule machines may constitute “gaming”, and hence require an AWPL will be determined on the actual game method or operation mode of such machines.
In general, an AWPL is required if the activity concerned is a game of amusement with prizes which constitutes “gaming” as defined in section 2 of the Gambling Ordinance. Each case will be determined on its own facts and circumstances.
In any event, the Office of the Licensing Authority will not issue an AWPL, unless the playing/operation modes of the relevant activity comply with the requirements for the issue of AWPL and fulfil all the vetting criteria for games of amusements with prizes.
In general, an application for a waiver of the licence fee of AWPL may be favourably considered if the applicant organization or the parent organization of the applicant organization is a charitable institution or trust of a public character which is exempted from tax under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112). As for an application for reduction of licence fee, it may normally be granted if the applicant organization is a noncommercial or voluntary services group and does not charge or collect any fees for the participation in the games of amusements with prizes or admission to the venue.
These requests should be made by the applicant of the licence in writing to the Office of the Licensing Authority (OLA) stating the reasons and enclosing all supporting documents. The OLA will consider each case on its own merits.