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What is 'Regulated Entertainment'?

Under the Licensing Act 2003, regulated entertainment is defined as:

Any entertainment that is provided in front of an audience for the purpose of entertaining them, and where the entertainment is for members of the public (anybody can buy a ticket or come to the event), or exclusively for members of a (private) qualifying club and their guests, or arranged by someone who is trying to make a profit.

This includes:

(a) a performance of a play
(b) an exhibition of a film
(c) an indoor sporting event
(d) a boxing or wrestling entertainment
(e) some performances of live music - see below
(f) any playing of recorded music
(g) a performance of dance
(h) entertainment of a similar description to that falling within (e), (f) or (g) above.

When is a licence for regulated entertainment not required?

You will not require a licence for:

  • where live music takes place at certain times in a venue where alcohol is sold - |find out more information
  • films which are solely or mainly to demonstrate a product, advertise goods or services, or provide information, education or instruction
  • films as part of an exhibition in a museum or gallery
  • TV and radio broadcasts, providing they are shown live and not recorded
  • religious meetings or services
  • entertainment in places of public religious worship
  • garden fetes (unless held for private gain)
  • entertainment provided in a moving vehicle
  • morris dancing
  • 'incidental entertainment' (see below).

What is 'incidental entertainment'?

Consent for regulated entertainment is not needed when it is provided for background entertainment rather than being the main purpose for people attending an event. Also, the entertainment is incidental if it is ancillary to an activity which is not in itself a licensable activity.

Examples of incidental entertainment:

  • supermarket playing background music (purpose of visit is shopping not listening to music)
  • music during keep-fit classes (purpose is exercise)
  • dance classes (purpose is learning to dance).


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