Exemption ― betting, gaming, dutiable machine games and lotteries

Produced by Tolley
Exemption ― betting, gaming, dutiable machine games and lotteries

The following Value Added Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Exemption ― betting, gaming, dutiable machine games and lotteries
  • Betting and gaming
  • Betting
  • Game of chance
  • Stake money
  • Session or participation fee
  • VAT treatment of betting and gaming
  • Valuation
  • Casino card rooms
  • Agents
  • More...

Exemption ― betting, gaming, dutiable machine games and lotteries

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marked the end of the Brexit transition / implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time, key transitional arrangements came to an end and significant changes began to take effect across the UK’s VAT and customs regime. This document contains guidance on subjects potentially impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see the Brexit — overview guidance note.

This guidance note provides an overview of the VAT treatment of betting, gaming and lotteries.

Excise duty is payable on certain betting activities and more information can be found in Excise Notice 451a: General Betting Duty, Excise Notice 147a: Pool Betting Duty and Excise Notice 455a: Remote Gaming Duty.

Betting and gaming

The provision of any facilities for the placing of bets or for the playing of any game of chance for a prize is exempt from VAT.


A bet has been defined as ‘the staking of money or other value on the event of a doubtful issue’.

Game of chance

VATA 1994, Sch 9, Group 4, Note 2 states that a game of chance:

  1. 1)

    “includes ―

    1. i)

      a game that involves both an element of chance and an element of skill,

    2. ii)

      a game that involves an element of chance that can be eliminated by superlative skill, and

    3. iii)

      a game that is presented as involving an element of chance...”

This does not include a game of sport. It is either a game of pure chance, such as roulette or dice, where the player cannot influence the result, or a game where chance and skill can be combined, such as bridge or whist, but where a player cannot completely eliminate the element of chance.

The supply of the right to play games of skill, such as duplicate bridge or chess, are not regarded as games of chance and cannot be exempt from VAT.

HMRC states in Notice 701/29:


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