Guidance

General Betting Duty, Pool Betting Duty and Remote Gaming Duty

Find out if you have to pay, when and how to register, the rates, how to fill in returns and make payments.

Overview

If you offer:

  • betting or gaming, or both, from outside the UK to gamblers in the UK - for example, over the internet
  • betting from a UK shop
  • spread betting from the UK

you must register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and pay one or more of these taxes:

  • General Betting Duty (GBD)
  • Pool Betting Duty (PBD)
  • Remote Gaming Duty (RGD)

Wherever you’re based, if you offer remote gambling, other than spread betting, to a person who usually lives in the UK, you must pay one or more of these taxes. You must register, submit returns and pay any tax due in sterling.

If you supply remote gambling that’s not spread betting to customers who don’t usually live in the UK, you aren’t liable to these taxes on those transactions.

Spread betting is betting on the outcome of financial or non-financial fluctuations of an index.

There are special rules on apportioning profits from pooled bets and games to work out the tax you’ll pay.

General Betting Duty

You pay GBD on a bookmaker’s profits for:

  • general or pool bets on horse or dog racing, where a customer in a betting shop makes a bet no matter where they usually live
  • general or pool bets on horse or dog racing made by a UK person, with a bookmaker (not in a UK betting shop) no matter where the bookmaker is located
  • spread bets, where a customer makes a bet with a bookmaker who’s in the UK
  • bets placed by a UK person through betting exchanges, no matter where the betting exchange is located

If you only take on-course bets you don’t need to pay GBD or tell HMRC about your business. But you must register and pay GBD on any off-course bets you take while carrying out your business.

On-course bets

On-course bets are bets taken:

  • at a horse or dog race meeting where both the person making the bet (not an agent acting on their behalf) and you the bookmaker, or Tote operator are present
  • from a UK bookmaker, who’s not at the meeting, but who makes hedged bets with you (the bookmaker) and you are at the meeting

How to register

Register your on-course betting activity by filling in the off-course betting section of the GBD registration. Don’t use the section for spread bets or betting exchanges for this.

How to make a return

To make an on-course return, fill in the off-course betting section of the GBD return. Don’t use the section for spread bets or betting exchanges for this.

Off-course bets

All other bets are off-course bets and are liable to GBD. This includes bets made:

  • over the telephone
  • on behalf of another person not at a meeting
  • through a betting exchange

These can be bets on horse races or on other sports or events.

Anyone who lays a bet through a betting exchange in the course of their business, whether as on-course bookmaker or not, is laying a dutiable off-course bet. Hedging a bet isn’t the same. Anyone who hedges a bet on a betting exchange isn’t laying an off-course bet. This is not liable to GBD.

Pool Betting Duty

You’ll pay PBD on bookmaker’s profits from bets that aren’t at fixed-odds and aren’t on horse or dog racing, where the customer is:

  • present in a UK betting shop, regardless of where the customer usually lives
  • a UK person, regardless of where in the world the bookmaker is located

Pool bets on horse or dog racing are liable to GBD.

Remote Gaming Duty

You must register and submit your returns online for RGD or if you hold a remote operating licence.

You’ll pay RGD on gaming provider profits from remote gaming played by a customer who usually lives in the UK. This will include any freeplays you offer.

You’ll need to decide whether a customer usually lives in the UK. Check Notice 455a for more information about this.

A gaming provider is the person who a player has a contract (or similar arrangement) for play with.

Rates

Tax is charged as a percentage of profits. Profits may be calculated as stakes received (from UK people where appropriate) less winnings paid out (to UK people where appropriate).

Tax Rate
GBD 15% for fixed odds and totalisator bets
3% for financial spread bets
10% for all other spread bets
15% of the commission charges charged by betting exchanges to users who are UK people
PBD 15%
RGD 15%

When and how to register

You must register at least 31 days before starting your business unless you’re based in:

  • the UK
  • the EU
  • Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Norway, the Faroes, Iceland, New Zealand or South Africa

For these countries you should register at least 14 days before.

You can register online for all the taxes using the Gambling Tax Service. Read more about how to register online.

To register by post for GBD or PBD you should write to HMRC National Registration Unit and ask for registration form:

  • GBD1 General Betting Duty - Application to register a business for GBD
  • PBD1 Pool Betting Duty - Application to register a business for PBD

When to appoint a representative

If you aren’t in a group you’ll need to appoint an HMRC approved representative in the UK unless you’re based in:

  • the EU
  • the UK (excluding the Channel Islands)
  • Norway, the Faroes, Iceland, New Zealand or South Africa
  • in a jurisdiction which has an agreement with the UK to enforce gambling tax debts on behalf of the UK - such agreements are in place with Gibraltar and the Isle of Man

Providing a security

HMRC may ask for a security if you need to appoint a representative in the UK or your business has a history of poor compliance with their gambling tax obligations.

The amount of security will be 6 months of estimated duty liability, this can be made by:

  • a cash deposit
  • providing a bank guarantee
  • providing a performance bond
  • setting up a joint account with HMRC

If you need to pay a security, we will let you know how much to pay and you’ll need to pay this once you’ve completed your registration.

Groups

A group can be formed by corporate bodies under common control and must appoint a Group Lead Member (GLM). The GLM is responsible for all transactions with HMRC and must have a principal place of business in the UK.

All members of a group are jointly and severally liable for all other group members.

You’ll need to form a separate group for each tax and all group members must have a liability for the tax in question.

If your business is a member of a group you don’t need to appoint a representative in the UK.

A group only fills in one return for each accounting period to cover all group members.

Accounting periods

A standard accounting period is 3 whole calendar months starting on the first day of the first month and ending on the last day of the third month.

If you prefer, you can apply to HMRC to follow non-standard accounting periods.

HMRC will only agree to non-standard accounting periods if you:

  • first select a pattern of accounting periods based on four 3-month periods in 12 months each ending on the last day of a month
  • then select 8 non-standard period end dates (each period end date must be within 16 days before or after the date that would have been the standard end date)

Note: If you wish to continue with non-standard accounting periods after the end of the eighth period you should, during the seventh period, give HMRC a further 8 non-standard period end dates. Without this notification, you will automatically revert back to the standard accounting period after the eighth non-standard period.

When to fill in returns and make payments

You should fill in and send back your return with your payment no later than 30 days from the end of your accounting period. If the 30th day falls on a weekend or bank holiday, your return and payment are due by the end of the previous working day.

You can fill in an online return using Gambling Tax Service (GTS) immediately after the end of your quarterly accounting period. Read GTS online service guide for more information about using online services.

If you fill in paper returns, HMRC will send you a form shortly after the end of your accounting period.

You must fill in a return even if you don’t need to pay any tax for the accounting period.

Find more on how to pay.

Returns for periods before 1 December 2014

If you were due to, but haven’t filled in a return for any period before 1 December 2014, you may be charged penalties.

If you need a return for an accounting period ending on or before 30 November 2014, you can contact HMRC by phone.

When you call you’ll need:

  • your GBD, PBD, or RGD reference number, for example ‘Betting/12345678’ for GBD, ‘PB/123456789’ for PBD, or ‘RG/123456789’ for RGD
  • your registered address
  • the start and end date of the accounting period you need a return for

Changes to your registration and deregistration

You must tell HMRC about any changes or mistakes in your registration application within one month of the date you registered, or within one month of the change happening, whichever is the later. Changes you need to tell HMRC about include:

  • a change to business type
  • a change of name or address
  • opening or closing a business
  • ceasing to trade
  • adding an agent
  • registering for another tax
  • changing your return accounting period

Deregistration

If you want to deregister either as an individual or group, you must tell HMRC 14 days before the event. We will need to know:

  • your GBD, PBD or RGD registration number
  • the date you want the deregistration to take effect
  • confirmation that your GBD, PBD or RGD activities have stopped

How to tell HMRC about changes

If you registered online you can tell HMRC using the Gambling Tax Service. Read more about making changes online.

If you didn’t register online write to HMRC National Registration Unit.

Penalties and appeals

You could be charged a penalty for any failure to meet your obligations, for example if:

  • you don’t tell HMRC about 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 tax
  • you don’t tell HMRC that 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.

Record keeping

You should keep your records for 4 years as HMRC might ask to see them. Use the links below to see the records you need to keep for each of the taxes.

GBD

Section 8 of Notice 451a: General Betting Duty.

Section 7 of Notice 451: General Betting Duty (edition April 2010) for periods before 1 December 2014.

PBD

Section 9 of Notice 147a: Pool Betting Duty.

Section 10 of Notice 147: Pool Betting Duty (edition September 2010) for periods before 1 December 2014.

RGD

Section 8 of Notice 455a: Remote Gaming Duty.

Section 7 of Notice 455: Remote Gaming Duty (edition April 2010) for periods before 1 December 2014.

Published 14 August 2014
Last updated 25 April 2017 + show all updates
  1. New paragraph 'Accounting periods' added to the page and amendments made to 'When and how to register' and 'When to fill in returns and make payments'.
  2. Additional information added about off-course bets.
  3. First published.