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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: Excise Duties (other than APD): Who is liable to pay the debt? General Betting Duty (GBD)

GBD is charged on:

  • the gross profits (“net stake receipts”) arising from any off-course bet made with a UK bookmaker
  • on pool betting which relates only to horse or dog racing and is made with a UK pool betting promoter or
  • “commission charges” which are the amounts charged to the parties using betting exchange facilities. See X-21 General Betting Duty.

To be a bookmaker or pool betting promoter, you must first obtain the relevantoperating licence from the Gambling Commission (or bookmaker’s licence in NorthernIreland from the local licensing justices). To run a betting shop to which the public hasaccess, a “bookie” must also obtain a betting premises licence from the locallicensing authority.

We can ask the Gambling Commission for a review when licences are due for renewal. (We canstill object to the renewal of an NI bookmaker’s licence).

Any person intending to start a general betting business must register with us at least 7days before starting business.

The registered bookmaker

The registered bookmaker is required to pay duty due. Section 5B (2) of the Betting andGaming Duties Act 1981, provides:

“In the case of bets made with a bookmaker in an accounting period the generalbetting duty shall be paid -

  • when it becomes due, and
  • by the bookmaker.”

Persons providing facilities for other dutiable betting are required to pay duty due.Section 5B (4) of the Betting and Gaming Duties Act 1981 provides:

“In the case of bets made in an accounting period by means of facilities provided bya person as described in section 4(1) (or 5AB) the general betting duty shall be paid

  • when it becomes due, and
  • by the person who provides the facilities.”

Duty must be paid at the same time that the return is due to be filed. Registeredbookmakers are generally required to file monthly returns to the Greenock AccountingCentre (GAC), by the 15th day of the month following the period to which the returnrelates (Regulation 5 and 6 of the General Betting Duty Regulations 200 [S.I 2001/3088]).

The licence holder, etc

Section 5B (3) of the Betting and Gaming Duties Act 1981, provides:

“But general betting duty which is due to be paid by a bookmaker in respect of betsmay be recovered from the following persons as if they and the bookmaker were jointly andseverally liable to pay the duty;

(a) the holder of a general betting operating licence (in Great Britain), or abookmaker’s licence (in Northern Ireland) for the business in the course of which thebets were made

(b) a person responsible for the management of that business

(c) where the bookmaker is a company, a director.”

It is HMRC policy to pursue the bookmaker first. If the bookmaker fails to pay, or cannotpay, and the person jointly and severally liable for the debt is a company,

  • pursue the company and the working directors at the same time.
  • notify non-working directors of their liability to pay if the working directors do not pay; and
  • do not pursue managers who:



  • are not responsible for accruing the arrears
  • did not obtain any financial benefit in relation to the debt or
  • have insufficient assets to make civil recovery worthwhile.

The Debt Management Unit will help you decide who to pursue for the debt in thecircumstances of the case.