Find out if you should pay Bingo Duty on profits from games played in the UK, how to register and how to pay.
Bingo Duty is paid on the profits you make from organising and promoting bingo games played in the UK, except:
- bingo you play in your home
- bingo on a machine that is covered by Machine Games Duty
- non-profit making bingo, where you don’t charge a player a fee to take part
- bingo you play at certain amusement arcades and travelling fairs, if the stakes and prizes are below specific limits
Small-scale bingo is also exempt from Bingo Duty if it’s promoted by a club, organisation or other association of people that doesn’t have a bingo operating licence, provided either of the following apply:
- only members of a club or organisation or their guests can play
- winnings or stakes do not exceed £500 on any one day, or £7,500 within any period of 4 or 5 weeks, ending on the last Sunday of each calendar month
If you offer bingo remotely (for example, over the internet) you’ll be liable to Remote Gaming Duty. You would also need to pay Remote Gaming Duty on bingo offered to the UK remotely from offshore.
You can find more about the exemptions from Bingo Duty in Notice 457.
If you’re a new promoter who has to pay Bingo Duty you must register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at least 14 days before you start any bingo games.
If you operate small-scale bingo but exceed the limits for exemption, you must tell HMRC within 5 days of the date you exceeded the limit.
If you don’t register in time you could be charged a penalty.
To register you’ll need to complete form EX250 Application for registration as a bingo promoter.
When you complete your registration form you should send it to the address shown on the form. Once HMRC receive your registration they’ll send you a reference number that you should use when you contact them.
Calculating Bingo Duty
The duty rate is 10% of your profits in your accounting period. Your profits are your bingo receipts less any winnings you’ve paid out.
Your bingo receipts include all the payments you get from players to allow them to play bingo, for example:
- bingo cards
- participation fees
- stakes from Main Stage Bingo, Combined and Prize Bingo
You don’t need to include things like:
- admission fees
- bingo club membership fees
- catering income
Your bingo winnings are:
- cash prizes
- the value of prizes that aren’t cash
- if the prize is a voucher, the value of the prize that the voucher can be exchanged for
Read more about bingo winnings and vouchers.
If your winnings are more than your receipts you won’t pay any Bingo Duty. You can use any losses on your return to reduce the amount of Bingo Duty you’ll pay in your next accounting period.
Returns and payments
You’ll be sent a return form BD510 Bingo Duty promoter’s monthly return about 2 weeks before the end of each accounting period. There are notes on the back of the form to help you fill it in.
You must make sure you send your completed return form including your payment, so that HMRC receive it no later than the 15th day following the end of your accounting period. Where the 15th day is a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, your return and payment must reach HMRC by the previous working day.
You must complete your return even if you don’t owe any Bingo Duty.
If you’re usually closed for a specific time, eg over the winter months, you should tell HMRC about the dates you‘ll be closed. You won’t need to complete returns for the months you’re closed.
If you don’t send your return and payment on time you may have to pay a penalty.
Changes to your details
You must tell HMRC within 7 days about any changes which could affect your duty registration, for example:
- the legal entity of your business changes, eg you change from a sole trader to a limited company
- your trading address changes
- changes to company officials responsible for paying Bingo Duty
- you stop promoting bingo
- you stop trading
- you’re a non-licensed club/organisation and your winnings or stakes have been above £500 in a day or £7,500 in an accounting period
Penalties and appeals
You could be charged a penalty if you don’t comply with any of your obligations, such as if:
- you don’t pay any Bingo Duty you owe
- your return or other tax document isn’t accurate and as a result you don’t pay enough duty
- you don’t tell HMRC if a duty assessment sent to you is too low
- you don’t notify HMRC about any changes to your business at the right time
Find out more about penalties you may have to pay HMRC.
If you’ve been given a penalty and you think it’s wrong, you can send an appeal to HMRC.
If you pay with Bingo Duty, you must keep the accounts and records necessary to:
- work out the bingo promotion profits
- allow HMRC to check the duty due
You must keep all your records for at least 3 years.
Find more about record keeping.
Providing facilities for playing games of chance such as bingo is normally exempt from VAT, but there are some important exceptions.
Find out more about VAT and Bingo Duty in Notice 701/29 betting, gaming and lotteries.