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UK Indicates Tougher Enforcement of Gambling Levies
The UK government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport this week announced proposed reforms to the regulatory gambling framework, including provisions to clamp down on off-shore operators escaping taxes such as the UK Horserace Betting Levy.
Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe announced that all operators who want to target British consumers must be licensed by the EU Commission. Government officials have been keen to stress that the decision is based on protecting British consumers by enforcing requirements that operators report suspicious betting patterns, comply with EU software testing requirements, age verification, self-exclusion and technical standards. Leading firms already have strong records of social responsibility, so legally enforcing these standards should not significantly impact the industry.
Yet industry experts were less optimistic about the government’s motives. PricewaterhouseCooper’s head of gaming, David Trunkfield, said, "You don't have to be too cynical to think that this is also going to be a way of raising tax."
No poker or casino websites currently conduct their business through a Gambling Commission licence or pay any tax to the UK, a situation that has been attributed to Gordon Brown’s move as chancellor to set the tax rate for internet gambling firms at 15 per cent of gross profits. Industry spokesman described the rate of tax as punitive, but it has so far failed to enhance the government’s tax revenues given firms have opted to operate out of “white listed” offshore tax havens, such as Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and Malta.
Until now these zones allowed firms to advertise in the UK while avoiding levies, but with the enforcement of licences from the Commission, this situation looks certain to change.
A spokesman for Mr. Sutcliffe conceded that the proposals were informed by other successful reforms in European countries. Last year Italy introduced gambling licences for all online poker and bookmaking sites, setting business tax ranging from two to five per cent. The Italian government has subsequently seen tax revenues rise across the industry.
The Right2bet campaign agrees with Mr. Sutcliffe’s assessment that the Gambling Act is among the best regulatory frameworks in Europe, given the open competition it permits between organisations, offering the consumer the greatest possible value and choice over operator. The Italian licensing system has seen permits restricted against leading operators with strong commitments to consumer standards. The Right2bet campaign hopes that the UK does not follow suit by blocking operators from the market, or burden consumers with extra charges passed on from the high tax regime.
The Right2bet campaign continues its pursuit of an open gambling market across the EU. The petition can be found at www.right2bet.net
Danske Spil Bingo Moves to Microgaming -
The national lottery of Denmark, Danske Spil, is live on the Microgaming Bingo Network. Danske Spil, the Danish national lottery, is live on the Microgaming Bingo Network following a change to its licence conditions.
Quickfire live on Strendus -
Quickfire powered by Microgaming is extending its reach in the LatAm region with the signing of Strendus. Strendus is the online division of Logrand Entertainment Group. The group comprises several companies that operate gaming and entertainment establishments in Mexico, running 14 land-based casinos in total.
Quickfire content live on BetatHome -
Online gaming and sports betting company bet-at-home was founded in 1999. Today the company has 4.8 million registered customers around the world, offering sports betting, casino, live casino, Vegas games, poker and virtual sports.
Microgaming has donated £30,000 between four charities -
Gift of Giving provides Microgaming’s customers the opportunity to vote for one of several charities in their region. In lieu of Christmas gifts, £30,000 is split equally between four global regions: Isle of Man, UK and Europe, Africa, and Rest of the World.
Entertainment Betting Odds: 90th Academy Awards -
The Shape of Water leads Sunday’s 90th Academy Awards (8 PM ET, ABC) with 13 Oscar nominations, but when it comes to Best Picture, this highly-acclaimed film is a +140 second-favorite behind Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at –115.
Fair Play Bets and QuickFire in Deal -
Fair Play Bets enjoys an unrivalled reputation for an outstanding player experience, with secure deposits and withdrawals, surprising casino bonuses and committed customer support. Fair Play Bets is licensed in UK, Malta and Curacao.
Cavaliers Aim to Take Down Wizards on 2/22/18 -
The Cleveland Cavaliers have looked like a different team since making their moves at the trade deadline. The Washington Wizards are up next for the Cavaliers, who will be at home after the All-Star break.
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