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HMRC internal manual

VAT Betting and Gaming Guidance

Exceptions to the exemption

The key to establishing the liability of supplies in connection with betting and gaming lies in interpreting the meaning of the exceptions to the exemption. This is explained below.

Admission charges or entry fees

These are paid by punters to enter an establishment where, in the context of this exemption, betting and gaming takes place. It is distinct from stake money and participation/session fees because it does no more than allow the player in to gambling premises or into a specific part thereof. Admission charges are specifically excluded from the exemption by Note (1)(a) to Group 4 of the VAT Act 1994 and are standard-rated.

Club subscriptions

These include subscriptions to gaming, bingo, and bridge clubs etc. They are specifically excluded from the exemption by virtue of Note (1)(c) to Group 4 and standard-rated.

“Relevant machine game

A “relevant machine game” is a game played on a machine for a prize and is not liable to MGD. An example is a non-cash prize game.


A dutiable machine game is played “in a tournament” if two or more real people participate in the game and compete against each other for the prize for which the game is being played. A fee may be payable by the players to enter the tournament.

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Composite charges

Stake money, admission charges and payments for the provision of facilities for placing bets may all be made as a single composite sum, so it will be necessary to ensure that the correct VAT liability is applied to each component part.