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NEW UK GAMBLING TAXES COULD SERIOUSLY IMPACT OFFSHORE OPERATORS

Posted 2/28/11 : he industry awaits the outcome of UK Minister's consultation
 
The UK government's decision last year to enquire into the situation where offshore gambling companies operated in the UK market without local taxation or licensing being necessary  is attracting growing interest.
 
The reason is the forthcoming publication of the reslts of the government's consultation process, which is believed to be only weeks away.
 
Examining the problem this week, the publication This is Money reported tthat offshore operators fear that their almost tax-free era could be drawing to a close.
 
Although major companies like Sportingbet, Party-Gaming, 888.com, William Hill and Ladbrokes invest millions in promoting their offerings to UK gamblers through sports sponsorships and advertising, those millions of pounds are available only because of the generous tax breaks enjoyed in offshore tax havens - from the Channel Islands to the Isle of Man and from Gibraltar to Malta, the newspaper explains.
 
"None of the companies pays more than one percent tax compared with the 15 percent they would face on the British mainland," This is Money notes, pointing out that because many of the offshore havens are "white-listed" by the UK government, they have full access to the UK media and advertising.
 
However, the publication opines, this happy situation could be about to come to an end following the government's enquiry and the publication - probably within the next few weeks -  of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport report and recommendations on the issue.
 
The report is expected to recommend that, in line with other European countries, every offshore gaming company will have to obtain a British-specific licence on top of that which it already holds from an acceptable offshore gambling jurisdiction.
 
That has serious implications for both operators and jurisdictions, because there will almost inevitably be tax implications as well as 'secondary' licensing costs.  Whilst most of the "white listed" jurisdictions have regulations that are broadly in line with UK Gambling Commission requirements, and the cost of a secondary licence is unlikely to scare away well established and successful companies, the prospect of additional taxes introduces real economic and competitiveness concerns.
 
"People are assuming that the licensing regulation will lead to changes in taxation,' one industry source told This Is Money.”It's the thin end of a taxation wedge. At the moment, offshore gambling operators pay next to nothing in tax, which is why they went offshore in the first place. But there is an expectation that the rate could be put up to match the 15 percent which UK-based operators currently pay. We'd be amazed if the Treasury wasn't already looking at this."
 
Ian Burke, chief executive of Rank Group agreed, telling the publication: "Many European markets are moving to regulating and taxing online gaming and it's inevitable that the UK government will look at changing the offshore tax regime."
 
The effect of paying 15 percent rather than one percent could be highly significant - companies could be hit with tax bills amounting to millions, depending on how big their offshore operations are.
 
Burke warned: "Weaker companies would disappear as their business model would no longer be sustainable."
 
This Is Money quotes the chief executive of trade group the Remote Gambling Association, Clive Hawkswood, who said any tax changes would "clearly hit companies hard".
 
"Some online casinos have a payout rate of about 97 percent so there is no room to withstand such a jump in tax.," said Hawkswood, opining that in order to survive companies may have to cut back dramatically on marketing, which has been lucrative for the UK media and sports industries.
 
The UK online gaming sector is worth some GBP1.5 billion a year, and with some companies spending around 30 percent of total revenues on advertising, there is a lot at stake, he pointed out.

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Gambling News :

Interwetten 2016 Earnings Results - Privately-owned online sports betting operator Interwetten delivered robust full year results for the 2016 fiscal period, in which the company has almost achieved doubling its revenues over the past four years, success it attributes to its in-house developed platform

EU Online Gambling Tax Harmoney Dead - Tax expert says European Court of Justice Attorney General's opinion on UK-Gibraltar litigation signals that EU courts are happy for individual member states to impose their own laws on online gambling.

Jack Lam Facing Big Fines in the Philippines - It's going to be costly for Macau online gambling and junket tycoon Jack Lam to return to the Philippines following his rather hurried departure last year with allegations of economic sabotage, bribery and tax evasion swirling around him.

Walter Merricks Term As Gambing Commissioner Extended - The UK Government has extended Walter Merricks’ term as Commissioner of the Gambling Commission for a further year, ending December 31, 2017.

Loot’enKhamun Pays $3.8 Million Jackpot - A London-based construction worker’s year got off to a great start when he hit the Loot’enKhamun jackpot at bwin casino.

PlaySugarHouse To Carry Konami Content - Content provider Konami will provide its Gypsy Fire and Fortune Stacks slot games to Rush Street Interactive-operated PlaySugarHouse.com on an exclusive basis in the New Jersey real-money online and mobile wagering market.

ITF TERMINATES BETWAY SPONSORSHIP DEAL - The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has reportedly terminated Betway’s three-year sponsorship partnership as an extension to their anti-match fixing and sports integrity policy.

GSA To Launch European division - The expansion enables the GSA to better focus on the regional needs of its members outside of North America and underscores its recognition and commitment to growing European membership.

Paddy Power Trading Update - Company prevails despite adverse sports and US election results; Trump success cost the group GBP 5 million, whilst punter successes took another GBP 40 million in Q4-2016.

Tabcorp SunBets project - The details were revealed this week in an IT News article quoting Tabcorp's chief information officer, Kim Wenn, who described the SunBets project as Tabcorp's biggest global venture yet.

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