HM Revenue and Customs Brief 63/09
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Issued 12 October 2009
This Revenue & Customs Brief outlines HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) policy in
relation to an amusement machine playing a game called 'Stacker' and its
liability to Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD).
Recent advances in technology and machine design have produced new types of
amusement machines and businesses need updated guidance to help them distinguish
between what is a gaming machine and what is a skill with prizes machine.
Gaming machines are liable to Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD) unless they
fall within any of the exemptions for machines with small stakes and prizes.
The 'Stacker' amusement machine has been marketed in the UK as a skill with
prizes (SWP) machine. HMRC believes that the 'Stacker' game satisfies the
requirements for a gaming machine contained within s25 of the Betting and Gaming
Duties Act 1981 and therefore depending on stake and prize limits considers that
the 'Stacker' electronic game terminal is a licensable gaming machine.
A game of chance
HMRC believes that the 'Stacker' game is a game of chance because players are
only allowed a very short period of time to react when playing the game and this
means that they cannot win the game on the basis of skill alone. The very short
time period introduces an element of chance into the game.
Depending on stake and prize limits, these machines are therefore liable to
Finance Act 2009 introduced a new exemption for Gaming machines with a
maximum stake of £1 and a non-cash prize with a value not exceeding £50.
This means that 'Stacker' machines will only require an AMLD licence if
either the stake exceeds £1 or the value of any non-cash prize exceeds £50.
This policy may affect other games where players are only allowed a very
short period of time to react.
What you need to do
If you provide a 'Stacker' machine on any premises you must hold a valid AMLD
licence before you make the machine available for play unless the machine falls
within any of the exemptions.
If you provide a machine playing a game where players are only allowed a very
short period of time to react and are unsure whether your machine is liable to
duty, you should consult the Helpline on 0845 010 9000 with full details of the
game before making the machine available for play.
HMRC provides guidance in
Notice 454 (October 2007) to help businesses decide whether their amusement
machine is liable to AMLD. Exemptions are covered in section 10.
About the Author
© Crown Copyright 2009.
A licence is need to reproduce this article and has been republished for
educational / informational purposes only. Article reproduced by permission of
HM Revenue & Customs under the terms of a Click-Use Licence. Tax briefs are
updated regularly and may be out of date at time of reading.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-10-13 16:16:12 in Tax Articles