You may have to pay Machine Games Duty (MGD) if you have machines that give cash prizes (such as slot, fruit or quiz machines) on your premises.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

You do not pay the duty on any of the following:

  • machines where the prize is less than the cost to play
  • takings from charity events, tournaments or lottery machines
  • machines for domestic use

Takings from machine games are exempt from VAT if you pay Machine Games Duty.

Who must register and pay

You’re responsible for registering, reporting and paying Machine Games Duty if you’re the current holder of any of the following for the premises:

  • licence for gambling or to sell alcohol
  • family entertainment centre gaming machine permit
  • club premises certificate
  • club gaming or machine permit
  • prize gaming permit or amusement permit
  • club registration certificate
  • bookmaking office licence or bingo club licence

There are different rules if you’re the tenant of a pub. You’re responsible for Machine Games Duty, rather than the premises licence owner (usually the pub’s owner).

If the premises is not licensed, it is usually the manager or owner who must register. You’re not responsible for the duty if you only supply the machines.

What you must do

If you’re responsible for the duty you must:

  1. Register for Machine Games Duty before you make your machines available to play.

  2. Work out what you owe and send HMRC a return every 3 months.

  3. Pay what you owe within 30 days of sending a return.

  4. Keep records of the takings from your machine games and your returns for 4 years.

If you stop being responsible for the duty, for example, your pub tenancy ends or you remove the machines, you must cancel your registration. If you do not cancel, HMRC will continue to send you requests for returns and payment based on estimates of what you owe (known as ‘central assessments’).

You may have to pay a penalty if you do not register when you should.