Pool Betting Duty

Find out about Pool Betting Duty and what you need to do if it affects you.

This guidance was withdrawn on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This guidance has been superseded by the General Betting Duty, Pool Betting Duty and Remote Gaming Duty guide.


Pool Betting Duty (PBD) rules are changing from 1 December 2014. Find out how the new rules will affect you.

PBD is paid by UK pool betting promoters, or operators of a totalisator in the UK.

Pool betting is where the odds are not fixed. It often involves a number of people betting in situations where:

  • the winners share the stakes or some other amount
  • the winnings are paid out at someone’s discretion

You don’t need to pay PBD on:

  • horse or dog racing
  • bets made with a promoter who qualifies for community benefit
  • fixed odds bets
  • lotteries
  • private, not-for-profit and other pool betting - for example, office sweepstakes

Note that you might still have to pay other gambling taxes, eg General Betting Duty on horse or dog racing, or Lottery Duty on lotteries.


The duty is charged at 15% of net pool betting receipts.

Apply for a permit

Before you can start a pool betting business, even if the pool betting is for community benefit, you need to apply for a permit using form BD2.

As well as completing form BD2, you must also tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about any premises or totalisator that you use for pool betting purposes. This is a legal requirement known as ‘making entry’ of the premises. Depending on your circumstances you’ll need to complete one of the following forms:

You must complete and return the forms to HMRC at least 1 week before you start your business. If your pool betting is for community benefit, you’ll also need to send a copy of the competition’s rules and any supporting documents you have to prove this. Send your forms to:

HMRC National Registration Unit

Portcullis House
21 India Street
G2 4PZ

You could be charged a penalty if you don’t apply for a pool betting permit.

Calculate your duty

The amount of duty you need to pay is worked out using your net pool betting receipts.

This is what you have left after adding your stakes, expenses and profits, then deducting any winnings you paid out. You should charge the current PBD rate on this amount to calculate what you need to pay in the accounting period.

The accounting period is usually a 4 or 5 week period ending on the last Saturday of a calendar month. You can now apply for quarterly accounting periods and duty returns if you meet certain conditions.

Returns and payments

HMRC will send you form BD1 Pool Betting Duty Return for each accounting period.

You must make sure you send your completed return and payment, so that HMRC receives them by the 15th day of the month after the end of the accounting period.

You must complete and return the form even if you didn’t carry out any business in the accounting period.

Changing your details

You must tell HMRC if you need to change the details you gave on your permit application.

For example, if you move premises you must apply for a new permit and return your completed forms to the National Registration Unit before the change takes effect.

Notice 147 Pool Betting Duty tells you more about the changes you need to tell HMRC about.

Penalties and appeals

You could be charged a penalty if you fail to meet your obligations, for example if you don’t:

  • apply for a pool betting permit
  • tell HMRC of any business changes at the right time
  • pay any duty due

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 must keep specific records and accounts so that:

  • you can work out the net pool betting receipts
  • HMRC can check the duty due


Providing facilities for pool 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.

Published 13 March 2013