This guidance was withdrawn on
This detailed guidance was originally archived on 17 March 2015.
This guidance has been superseded by the General Betting Duty, Pool Betting Duty and Remote Gaming Duty guide.
Find out if you should pay General Betting Duty on your profits from bookmaking, how to register and how to pay.
Changes are being introduced to General Betting Duty (GBD) from 1 December 2014. Find out how the new rules will affect you.
GBD is charged on the net stake receipts of bookmakers in the UK. It applies to:
- off-course betting
- pool betting on horse or dog racing
- spread betting
It also applies to the commission that users of a UK betting exchange are charged by that betting exchange.
You don’t pay GBD on any on-course bets.
Find out more about GBD in Notice 451 General Betting Duty.
The rates of duty are:
- 15% for fixed odds and totalisator bets
- 3% for financial spread bets
- 10% for all other spread bets
- 15% of the commission charges on bets placed through betting exchanges
You need to let HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) know if you want to start a business as a bookmaker or bet-broker. You need to notify HMRC even if you only take on-course bets that are exempt from GBD.
You should fill in form BD 75 General Betting Duty - notification to carry on a general betting business and return it to the address on the form, so that HMRC receive it at least 1 week before you start your business.
If you don’t tell HMRC at least 7 days before starting your business, you’ll receive a penalty.
Find more about notifying HMRC if you intend to start a general betting business.
Returns and payments
HMRC will send you a return form 2 weeks before the end of each accounting period. The form you get depends on the type of betting business you run:
- if you receive off-course bets as a bookmaker you’ll need form BD 211 General Betting Duty bookmaker’s return
- if you receive spread bets you should use form BD 211A General Betting Duty spread betting return
- if you’re a betting exchange you’ll receive form BD 211B General Betting Duty betting exchange return
You must complete and send the returns even if you’ve not carried out business during the accounting period (normally a calendar month).
You should send your payment and completed return to HMRC, so that they receive it no later than 15 days following the end of the accounting period. If the 15th day is a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, the return and payment must be there by the previous working day.
Changes to your details
You should tell HMRC about any changes that could affect your duty, such as:
- a change of owner
- a change of name or address
- authorised signatories changing
- opening or closing a shop
- ceasing to trade
Penalties and appeals
You could be charged a penalty for any failure to meet your obligations, for example if:
- you don’t notify HMRC at least 7 days before starting your business
- you fail to tell HMRC of any business changes at the right time
- you don’t send your return and payment by the due date
- your return or other tax document isn’t accurate and as a result you don’t pay enough duty
- you fail to tell HMRC a duty assessment sent to you is too low
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.
You’ll need to keep the following records:
- a GBD account showing how you calculated your duty payment
- a daily record of bets made
- a daily record of bet-related winnings paid out
- copy betting slips
- any till rolls you produce
- your bank statements
- your cash and credit records
- your annual accounts
You must normally keep your records for 3 years.
You can destroy betting slips 6 months after the date when the bets were made. However, for winning bets you must keep betting slips for a period of 6 months after the date you paid out the winnings.
If you’re an on-course bookmaker and you accept off-course bets you must set up and keep records in the same way as an off-course bookmaker.
You’ll need to keep a record of any bets hedged, laid-off or placed with you by an off-course bookmaker. This should include their name and Unique Tax Reference.
Providing facilities for betting or playing games of chance is normally exempt from VAT, but there are some important exceptions.
Find out more about VAT and betting in Notice 701/29 betting, gaming and lotteries.