Pooled bets and games: work out the duty to pay

Operators of betting and gaming pools need to work out how the different gambling duties apply to amounts they take out of their pools.


Pooled gambling is where the winnings depend entirely on how much money is in the pool and how many winners there are. You’re the operator of a pool if you run a betting or gaming pool, receive payments and pay out winnings.

You must account for duty in relation to customers who usually live in the UK, including businesses. The relevant duties are:

Separate information exists for Pool Betting Duty before 1 December 2014.

Operator’s profits

Your profits from the pools you run are the commission amounts you take from the:

  • stakes your UK gamblers pay to place their bets
  • payments your UK players make to participate in the game

It doesn’t matter whether you take the commission amounts when a customer pays or later from the pool itself. Duty will apply to these profits.

Any top-up amounts you’ve put into the pool, in order to meet your prize fund requirements, will reduce your profits.

Remote operators

It doesn’t matter where you’re based in the world. The only consideration is whether any of your customers are based in the UK.

Your pool will consist of payments from one of the following:

  • entirely UK based customers
  • entirely non-UK based customers
  • a mixture of UK based and non-UK based customers

Work out your profits

How you work out your profits will depend on where your customers are based.

Only UK customers

You must count as part of your profits, any commission amounts you take:

  • before the customers’ payments are transferred to the pool
  • out of the pool itself

You’ll need to deduct any top-up amounts you’ve put into the pool.

Only non-UK customers

You won’t have to pay any duty on your profits.

Mixture of UK and non-UK customers

All commission amounts you take from UK customers’ payments before they’re transferred to the pool count as part of your profits. Those you take from non-UK customers’ payments can be ignored.

If you take any amounts out of the pool, or add any top-up amounts to it, you’ll need to apportion them to work out the duty you must pay.


You’ll need to work out the UK part of any commission or top-up amounts in relation to a pool with both UK and non-UK customers. To do this, you must:

1) Add up the total amount of payments into the pool by:

  • your UK customers
  • both your UK and non-UK customers

2) Divide the total of UK payments by the total of both UK and non-UK payments.

3) Multiply that by any commission or top-up amounts to apportion them.

The apportioned values are the:

  • commission amounts that you’ll have to add to the profits you pay duty on
  • top-up amounts that you use to reduce your overall profits by


When you apportion amounts you add into or take out of your pool, you’ll need to use the correct period of time that you count payments and apportioned amounts for.

Where your pool is for:

  • a specific event such as a horserace, your apportionment is based on all payments for that event
  • a specific period such as a day or a week, your apportionment is based on all payments made during that time
  • something that isn’t a specific event or time period, including open-ended rollovers, your apportionment is based on payments made until you took out or put in money to the pool

Additional fees

Entry fees or any other charges customers must pay you in addition to their bet must be included in your duty calculation as payments.

More than one operator

Where your pool is run by 2 or more operators, you’re only responsible for duty on your own customers’ bets.

More than one pool

Each pool you run is treated separately for working out the duty you have to pay.

If you’ve added to or taken out any amounts from them, you’ll need to work out whether, and how much, duty applies to them.

More than one operator and pool

When you’re one of 2 or more operators running more than one pool, you’re responsible for duty in relation to your own UK pools customers.

The pools you run are treated individually when it comes to working out the duty in relation to your own customers.

Further information

You may also want to read:

Published 26 June 2017