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WARNING ON UK INTERNET GAMBLING SECONDARY LICENSING AND TAX
01/03/2012 : Independent survey says online gambling tax plans may drive punters to unregulated sites.
With momentum in the UK building for a 'secondary licensing' regime and taxes, the William Hill gambling group has gone on the offensive as the new year starts, again drawing attention to an independent survey it commissioned.
The study, conducted by respected international professional services group Deloitte, found that the British government's proposals for a point of consumption tax on online gambling could backfire, with punters driven to unregulated sites, and smaller operators forced out of the market.
Deloitte concluded that levying such a tax at 10 percent would seriously hurt the government’s “consumer protection policy objectives”. It additionally found that as much as 27 percent of current revenues would disappear into the “grey”, or unregulated, market. And at 15 percent tax, that figure rises to 40 percent.
The survey found that the most marginal operators, accounting for up to 13 percent of UK online bets, could be “expected to exit following the introduction of a 5 percent tax”. That would not only push more UK punters into the unregulated market, but there would also be a knock-on effect on gambling companies’ revenues and marketing spend, hitting both corporation taxes and sports sponsorship.
William Hill has submitted the report to the Treasury, which is reviewing a possible new tax regime for remote gambling.
The Telegraph newspaper, reporting on the Deloitte study, says that UK consumers currently spend about GBP 1.7 billion a year – roughly 18 percent of total UK gambling revenues – with online gambling companies. At present many companies - including William Hill plc - escape the 15 percent gross profits tax levied in the UK by locating their internet operations in tax havens like Gibraltar, Malta, Alderney and the Isle of Man.
The new proposal would see any operator wishing to access the UK market being required to take out UK licensing and pay an as yet unquantified UK tax rate, on grounds that online gambling takes place at the point of consumption i.e. the player's hardware.
Deloitte points to the US, France and Italy in illustrating that attempts to control online gambling have “failed to prevent the emergence of a large unregulated sector”, not least because of the difficulties of introducing enforcement mechanisms such as blocking internet service providers or types of financial transactions.
Ralph Topping, chief executive at William Hill, told the Telegraph: “Money will always find a way out. More people will go overseas or to fly-by-night, unregulated sites where the consumer is not protected. I hope the Government sees sense on this.”
Assuming “ineffective enforcement”, Deloitte finds that a 15 percent tax rate would bring in incremental tax of GBP 116 million after adjusting for a GBP 57 million fall to GBP 76 million in corporation tax. That would be at the price, however, of exposing many more consumers to unregulated, and possibly unsafe, gambling sites.
A Treasury spokesman said: “Responses to the review are in and are being analysed.”
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Paddy Power plc has released its H1-2014 results -
Online and land gambling group Paddy Power plc has released its H1-2014 results for the six months ended 30 June 2014, underlining strong growth but a decline in operating profit following adverse sports results.
Fortuna Entertainment Group has posted H1-2014 results -
The Czech betting company Fortuna Entertainment Group has posted H1-2014 results that include a 16.4 percent increase in EBITDA, thanks to the additional business flowing from the FIFA World Cup held earlier this year in Brazil.
EPT Barcelona Results -
Belarus poker pro Ihar Soika topped all of his previous live tournament winnings combined this week when he claimed the Euro 747,200 first prize in the Euro 10,300 buy-in European Poker Tour Barcelona despite starting the final day fourth in chips out of the final 21 players.
Swedish Gambling Revenue Down 3 Percent -
Sweden's restrictive gambling regulatory regime continues to hobble the industry in the Nordic nation, with Lotteriinspektionen - Sweden’s gambling and lottery authority - reporting this week that in the first half of 2014 revenues declined by 3 percent compared to H1-2013.
OPAP reports Q2 results -
Earlier this week the privatised Greek gambling monopoly OPAP warned the market that a tax demand dating from 2010 would impact its quarterly earnings, and that proved to be the case Wednesday, when the operator booked a Euro 29.6 million tax debit, explaining that historically it had negotiated a deferred payment with the Greek government which fell due in the second quarter.
Go Bananas and Sunny Scoops Slots Launch -
Stockholm-based games developer Thunderkick has pumped out another new and innovative slot this week in Sunny Scoops, a game with an ice cream theme presented through sharp and colourful graphics.
Record Revenues for Bally Technologies -
Bally Technologies, Inc., a major US gambling equipment and content supplier, has posted its fiscal FY 2014 results, highlighting record revenues up 22 percent to $1.2 billion, pushed by increases of 30 percent in systems revenue and a stand-out performance from wide area progressive network revenues.
NFL Odds: Seahawks vs Packers -
In little over a week, the Seattle Seahawks will set out to officially reprise their roles as Super Bowl champions. The titleholders will kick off the new campaign as hosts to the Green Bay Packers in Thursday night’s opening week matchup.
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