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HMRC internal manual

VAT Betting and Gaming Guidance


Card-room games

Casinos generally provide card-room games (equal chance gaming) where players pay a stake to play against each other. The games are normally where the chances are equally favourable to all participants (that is, there is no edge to the casino). Card-room games include games such as Texas hold ‘em, poker, backgammon, kalooki and may be held in the form of a competition or tournament. Where playing cards are used, they may sometimes be dealt by one of the participants rather than by a member of the casino’s staff. The changes in the law referred to in VBANDG14100 also mean that the liability of fees paid to participate in card-room games is now exempt.

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Casino games

Casino games are those where there is an edge in favour of the casino. Players usually play against the ‘house’. Examples of such games include roulette, blackjack and punto banco.

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Participation and session charges

For card room games the payment for the right to take part in betting and gaming may take the form of a participation fee or a rake from the pot.

For casino games the charges effectively arise from the casino or house edge. These charges are quite separate from the stakes risked in the game.

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Stake money

This is the amount of money paid by each of the players which they risk in the game and is returned as winnings to the winning player. It is outside the scope of VAT because it is not consideration for any supply by, for example, the gaming club to the player.