Games machines in pubs could become a thing of the past as a result of new Treasury proposals to change the way in which they are taxed.
That's the warning from the British Beer and Pub Association, which is campaigning for a fairer deal.
Under the new proposals all machine games will become exempt from VAT and will become liable for Machine Games Duty. The new tax will be charged on the net cashbox takings and there will be a standard rate and a lower rate, depending on stake or prize levels.
The new duty will also take in some machines not currently subject to Amusement Machine License Duty (AMLD), covering Category D as well as Skills With Prize machines.
The BBPA said the proposed changes threatened publicans with the loss of what has long been a traditional part of their income and a popular entertainment for their customers. It also raised concerns that the new scheme would be costly and complex to operate.
Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: "Many pubs could lose a vital part of their income under these proposals. For the machine makers, this really could be the last nail in the coffin. We will be pressing the Treasury for a rethink that ensures a fairer set of proposals."
The Treasury is consulting on its proposals until 26 July. The changes will be introduced through the Finance Bill 2012 and come into effect in early 2013.
By Neil Gerrard
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