Wednesday April 17, 2013 : RANK PLC ENGAGES WITH UK PARLIAMENTARIANS
16-page Rank Gameplan makes a few suggestions for UK regulatory improvements
The online and land gambling group Rank plc has launched an initiative designed to engage with UK lawmakers in improving the regulatory and tax regime in Britain.
Titled Gameplan, the initiative is spearheaded by a 16 page document putting forward the company's views on the subject, among which are:
* Stop using pejorative terms associated with gaming ie "casino banking". These create inaccurate perceptions of gambling and make it difficult to move forward on reform and improvement initiatives.
* The scope for economic growth in online gambling should share priority with the apparent preoccupation with harm minimisation in the consideration of gambling issues.
* Simplify complex regulations and reduce bingo tax rates from 20 percent to 15 percent.
* Empower local authorities to deal with and issue gambling licenses.
* Ease geographical restrictions on gambling venue locations, and allow operators to meet consumer demand, and to transfer licenses between locations to encourage expansion, investment and the creation of jobs. From a Rank perspective alone that could generate an additional GBP 87 million a year in taxes.
* On the controversial issue of gaming machines in betting shops, Rank suggests matching machines to consumer demand by increasing the limits currently restricting this aspect. Again in Rank plc terms, this has the potential to generate an additional GBP 4.4 million a year for the taxman, the document suggests.
The tax issue in particular needs attention, the document suggests, citing a Bingo Association study carried out by Ernst & Young, which predicts that a reduction in Bingo Duty to 15 percent, could result in a tax revenue boost for the government of GBP 35 million over the initial four years.
However, Rank is aware that a conflicting study has also been doing the rounds, and the group consequently suggests that the differences in these predictions should be studied with a view to arriving at an accurate assessment with which everyone can be comfortable.