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HMRC internal manual

Machine Games Duty

HM Revenue & Customs
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Operational: Compliance checks: dutiable machine games

A machine game is dutiable if it is possible to win a cash prize which is greater than the cost of each individual play. This includes quiz machines which offer a cash prize greater than the cost of play, but it excludes:

  • Machines which only facilitate betting on future ‘real’ events such as horse racing or sporting events
  • Machines on which only bingo is played and bingo duty is chargeable
  • Machines playing games of chance on which gaming duty is chargeable.
  • B3A Lottery machines operated in compliance with the Gambling Act. For a person to operate a B3A machine they must hold a valid ‘club gaming’ or ’club gaming machine’ permit from their local licensing authority (SI 2012/2898)
  • Machine games that are provided as part of a charitable event (SI 2012/2898)
  • Machine games where players compete against others in a tournament (SI 2012/2898).

Where there are dutiable and non dutiable games on the same machine each game must be judged separately. It is the machine game, not the machine that is dutiable.

Where a game has several stages it is dutiable if a single stage is dutiable, or the stages taken together amount to a dutiable game.

A cash prize includes anything that can equate to money such as:

  • tokens or ‘chips’ that can be exchanged for cash
  • a prize which can be exchanged for a cash alternative
  • points or credits which might be added to an account which could later be exchanged for cash.