Exemption ― betting, gaming, dutiable machine games and lotteries

Produced by Tolley

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

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

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:

“HMRC now accepts that all Spot the Ball competitions are games of chance and are therefore exempt from VAT as a form of pool betting following a recent Court of Appeal [IFX Investment Company

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