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Club Law and Management

by Philip Smith, Secretary of the A.C.C.

Machine Games Duty

FIn the budget the Government announced that from February 2013 that Machine Games Duty was to be set at 20%. Regular readers of the Magazine will know that the change in regulations regarding the taxation of Gaming Machines was previously known but until the budget the precise percentage value that the new tax would be set at was unknown.

Machine Games Duty replaces Amusement Machine License Duty and VAT on Gaming Machines. This means that from February 2013 that Gaming Machines will not have yearly Amusement Machine License Duty and will not attract VAT. In place of both will be Machine Games Duty which will be paid on a pay as you go arrangement. This means that there will be no upfront or set costs for a Club to install a Gaming Machine, and the only tax deducted the new Machine Games Duty.

The 20% rate will be beneficial to Clubs as it is set substantially lower than had previously been anticipated. Before the announced rate the general consensus was that the rate would be set at around 26-28% as it was designed to be revenue neutral. Essentially the 20% rate means that Clubs will save the entirety of the previously paid Amusement Machine License Duty and it also means that there are no barriers to entry for a Club to install a Gaming Machine. Whereas previously installing a gaming machine would require an initial payment of Amusement Machine License Duty now a Club can trial a machine and only pay tax on the takings of the machine. Essentially, there is now no reason a Club cannot have as many gaming machines as its license permits as the yearly fee has for simply housing these machines has been scrapped.

Whilst Machines Games Duty appears to be essentially the same as VAT there is a key difference. Machine Game Duty will be applied on top of takings whereas VAT is included within takings. So using the example of a £120 cash box, VAT is £120 x 20/120 = £20, whereas MGD will be £120/100 x 20 = £24. Arguably this equates to a 24% tax rate although we still consider that this will save Club money from the current system of Amusement Machine License Duty and VAT.

Please be aware that Machine Games Duty does not apply to B3A machines. These machines will continue to be free of all tax and the introduction of Machine Games Duty will not change their tax status. This is an important victory for Clubs and we are pleased that B3A machines will remain completely tax free for Clubs.

Royal Wootton Bassett Conservative Club

The ACC would like to offer its congratulations to the Royal Wootton Bassett Conservative Club which officially had its new name registered on the 13th March 2012.

The Wootton Bassett Conservative Club changed its name in light of the town’ bestowment with Royal title. The Royal Wootton Bassett Conservative Club was always strong supporter of the town’s well known ritual support of the Repatriations of fallen troops which took place through the town since 2007.

The town’s name change was announced in March 2011. For a town to receive the ‘Royal’ prefix the Queen must agree to it. Her Majesty did agree on the basis that it would be “an enduring symbol of the nation’s admiration and our gratitude to the people of that town”. The change was officially completed in October of last year during an event attended by David Cameron and the Phillip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, and it is the first time since 1909 that a town has been granted a Royal title. The only other towns with a Royal title are Royal Leamington Spa and Royal Tunbridge Wells.

In order for the Club to officially have its name changed it had to seek approval from the Government’s Cabinet Office in order to approve the addition of Royal to its name. The Cabinet Office duly offered its approval and added that they wished the Club the greatest success in the future.

Questions and Answers

Q. Our Annual General Meeting is due to be held soon and we have not had any nominations for the position of Chairman. The nominations period has now passed and we are not sure what we should do regarding this vacant position.

A. I suggest that at the AGM, nominations are taken from the floor for the position of Chairman. This will give the Members present at the AGM the opportunity to propose candidates for the position. As no one has currently proposed anyone for the position it will be completely in order to take nominations from the floor. If only one person is nominated then they will be elected unopposed, if two or more persons are nominated at the AGM then a ballot will need to be held.
Should no nominations be forthcoming at the AGM then it would be in order for the meeting to agree that the Committee coopt suitable Members to fill the vacant positions as and when such candidates become available.

 
 
 
 
 

Q. It has been suggested that we post ballot papers to all our Members this year to increase the number of Members who vote in the elections for Committee Members. I believe that this is an unnecessary expense. Do you have a view on this matter?

A.It is certainly not a requirement under the Rules of your Club to post ballot papers out to every single Club Member. It would be very unusual for a Club to post out the electoral ballot forms and I have never seen a Rule Book which makes provision for such an administrative burden. Most Clubs either carry out their elections in the week leading up to the AGM on specified ballot dates and times, or by holding a vote at the AGM.

 

Q. We have recently been informed that one of our Members has been expelled from another local ACC Club. Are we able to expel this person on the basis that he has been expelled by an ACC Club?

 A. confirm that your Committee do have the authority to take disciplinary action against any member who may have been expelled from another ACC affiliated Club. The Club Rules clearly state that the actions of any member which may damage the character and interests of the Club will result in disciplinary procedure.
If therefore a member of your Club has been expelled from another ACC Club, for whatever reason, the Committee would be able to implement the terms of your Club’s disciplinary procedure, agree that the facilities of membership should be withdrawn and request the member to appear before them in order to answer the complaint. Please note that in these circumstances, the Committee would not be dealing with the reason for the member’ expulsion from the other Club. You should not fall into the trap of trying to determine whether or not the member in question should or should not have been expelled from the other Club. It is simply a case of determining whether the expulsion has a detrimental effect on your Club.
 
 

Q. The Committee wish to introduce an entrance fee of £1 for Member’s guests. Could you confirm that this would be in order?

A. It is entirely in order to charge guests £1 per visit, provided that they are properly signed in by a Member. Technically this charge should be made by the introducing Member although in practice we appreciate that this rarely happens. Please note that this entrance fee will be VAT applicable, alternatively you could make the entrance fee a suggested donation in order to avoid the VAT but, again, in practice voluntary payments tend not to be made.

 

Q. We are currently seeking to attract guests and third party events to the Club. Could you specify exactly what facilities we are able to offer under the terms of our Club Premises Certificate?

A. Your Club operates under a Club Premises Certificate and is able to supply alcoholic drinks to Members, Members’ guests, visiting IA ticket holders and persons admitted to the Club whilst a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) is in force. The Club is not licensed premises in the same way as a pub or wine bar for example. It is not possible for people to simply walk off the street and have a drink. However, it is possible for people to enquire as to whether they could hold a private party at the Club and, as a result, to become a Member of the Club provided, of course, they meet the qualifications of Membership and are successfully elected. As a Member their party would be a Member’s party and their guests would be a Member’s guests, entitled to purchase drinks without the requirement of a TEN.