What is Machine Games Duty (MGD)? When does it apply? What are the rules?

This is a freeview 'At a glance' guide to Machine Games Duty.

At a glance

Machine Games Duty (MGD) has applied since 1 February 2013, when it replaced VAT and Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD) charged on the income from gaming machines.

  • MGD is paid on the profits (net takings) of machine games in the UK.
    • A "machine game" is a game played on a machine for a maximum cash prize greater than the cost to play.
    • A gaming machine or a Skills With Prizes (SWP) machine may be a machine subject to MGD.
  • The person responsible for premises where machine games are played on which MGD will be due must register for the duty with HMRC.
    • In most cases, this will be the licence or permit holder which allows machines to be provided for play on the premises.
    • If more than one person is responsible for a premises, only one needs to register.

MGD rates


Cost to play


MGD rate

Machine type 1: lower rate

20 pence or less

£10 or less


Machine type 2: standard rate 

21 pence to £5

£11 or more


All other machine types: higher rate

More than £5




Where a machine has more than one game type, the highest applicable rate is used to calculate MGD on all takings. 

MGD registration and returns

  • The MGD online registration service was launched on 1 November 2012.
  • You register by adding MGD to your HM Revenue and Customs account.
    • If you do not have an account, or only have an account for personal tax, create an account as an organisation.
  • You should register for MGD at least 14 days before you make your machines available to play.
    • If machine games were available for play on 1 February 2013, those responsible for the premises must have applied for registration before 11 January 2013 to avoid a penalty.
  • The penalty for failure to register can be up to 100% of any tax due.
  • Once registered, an MGD return must be submitted every three months.
    • Returns are due within 30 days of the end of the accounting period. This is also the date by which MGD must be paid to HMRC. 
  • MGD returns, receipts of machine takings, and details of calculations must be kept for four years.
  • Penalties and interest can be charged for errors in returns, failure to register, and failure to make payments on time.

Machine Games Duty for Agents

HMRC's Machine Games Duty for Agents service allows agents to carry out a number of tasks online on behalf of their clients.

Key features of the service include:

  • Setting up online authorisation to act on behalf of clients.
  • Changing client's registration details.
  • Submit client's MGD returns online.
  • View client's MGD Returns that have been submitted online.

Overpaid MGD: case law

In Coyles Millar v HMRC [2021] TC08355 the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that a four-year limit applies to repayments of overpaid Machine Games Duty (MGD) under section 137A Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.

External links

Excise Notice 452: Machine Games Duty

Machine Games Duty for Agents: HMRC Online Services

HMRC guidance Machine Games Duty

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