Finance Bill Tracking Service 2009 | Budget 2009


Who is likely to be affected?

1. Anyone making a gaming machine available for play, casinos, and any business, club or institution offering non-remote or remote bingo or other games of chance.

General description of the measure

2. These measures:

•    remove VAT on participation fees for playing bingo and other games of chance (participation fees are charges that a gaming operator makes to customers for participating in gaming);

•    increase the money prize limit for bingo duty exemption that may be offered on small scale amusements provided commercially at, for example, family entertainment centres and adult gaming centres from £50 to £70;

•    increase the rate of bingo duty to 22 per cent;

•    remove the need to list individual games for the purposes of gaming duty and extend the scope of gaming duty to include charges for commercially provided equal chance gaming;

•    raise the gross gaming yield (GGY) bandings for each gaming duty band in line with inflation;

•    extend the scope of remote gaming duty to include remote bingo and remove remote bingo from the scope of bingo duty; and

•    clarify the existing excise definitions of 'gaming' and 'gaming machine'.

Operative date

3. VAT will be removed from participation fees on and after 27 April 2009.

4. The increase in the money prize limit for small scale amusements will have effect for bingo played on and after 1 June 2009.

5. The bingo duty increase will have effect for any accounting period beginning on or after 27 April 2009.

6. Gaming duty will have effect for charges made in connection with equal chance gaming in casinos on and after 27 April 2009.

7. With effect on and after 27 April 2009 dutiable gaming for the purposes of gaming duty will no longer depend on games individually specified in law.

8. The changes to the GGY bandings have effect for accounting periods starting on or after 1 April 2009.

9. The changes to remote bingo will have effect for remote bingo games starting on or after 1 July 2009.

10. The amendments to the legal definitions of 'gaming' and 'gaming machine' have effect on and after the date that Finance Bill 2009 receives Royal Assent.

Current Law and proposed revisions

11. Note 1(b) of Group 4 of Schedule 9 to the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act 1994 taxes the granting of a right to take part in a game of chance for a prize, subject to certain specific exceptions. The measure will remove Note 1(b), meaning that all participation fees for bingo and other games of chance will be exempt from VAT.

12. The money prize figure in paragraph 5(2)(c) of Schedule 3 to the Betting and Gaming Duties Act 1981 (BGDA) will be increased from £50 to £70.

13. The rate of bingo duty in section 17(1)(b) of BGDA will be increased from 15 per cent to 22 per cent.

14. Section 10(2) of the Finance Act (FA) 1997 specifies the casino games that are liable to gaming duty. When amended this section will apply to casino games generally and be extended to include charges for equal chance gaming, subject to specific exemptions.

15. The table of GGY bandings in section 11(2) of FA 1997 will be replaced by the table below and the table for payments on account in regulation 5 of the Gaming Duty Regulations 1997 will be amended to reflect these changes.

The first £1,929,000 of GGY 15 per cent
The next £1,329,500 of GGY 20 per cent
The next £2,329,000 of GGY 30 per cent
The next £4,915,500 of GGY 40 per cent
The remainder 50 per cent

16. Section 17(1)(a) of BGDA provides that bingo duty shall be charged on the playing of bingo in the United Kingdom. This section will be amended to exclude the playing of remote bingo from bingo duty, subject to specific exemptions. Section 26H of BGDA, which specifies exemptions from remote gaming duty, will be amended so that remote bingo is not exempted from remote gaming duty.

17. Sections 33(1) and 25(1A) of BGDA have been amended to include their own statutory definition of 'gaming' and 'gaming machine' without the need for any cross reference to the VAT Act 1994.

Further advice

18. A future consultation on the reform of Amusement Machine Licence Duty so that duty due on making a gaming machine available for play is calculated by reference to the gross profit from the machine rather than a licence has been announced today.

19. The VAT changes for participation fees may affect the partial exemption positions of businesses. For further details see Notice 706 (Partial Exemption).

20. VAT Notices 701/26 (Betting and Gaming) and 701/27 (Bingo), Excise Notices 453 (Gaming Duty), 457 (Bingo Duty) and Information Note 3/07 Remote Gaming Duty will be amended in due course.

21. If you have any questions about these changes, please contact the National Advice Service on 0845 010 9000. Information about Budget measures is available on the HM Revenue & Customs website at