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HMRC internal manual

VAT Betting and Gaming Guidance

Background and scope of the exemption

The exemption was introduced on 1 April 1973 and provides for the exemption from VAT of certain payments made in connection with the provision of facilities for the placing of bets or the playing of a game of chance. These are exempt from VAT under the VAT Act 1994, Schedule 9, Group 4. Gaming machines have, in the main, been fully taxable since 1973 but on 1 February 2013, their taxation was reformed through the introduction of a new excise tax, Machine Games Duty (MGD). Instead of tax due on the basis of machine type, tax will be paid on a game basis. MGD is charged on the net takings from the playing of dutiable machine games and, where it is payable, the takings will be exempt from VAT.

Exceptions to exemptions

Under Note (1) and 1A to the Group there are two important exceptions to the exemption. These are:

  • Admission charges to premises where betting and gaming take place.
  • Club subscriptions (including those to gaming, bingo and bridge clubs, etc.).
  • Relevant machine game” takings.

These supplies are standard-rated and are explained in more detail in VBANDG03000.