Tuesday March 26,2013 : EARLIER INTRODUCTION FOR THE BRIT P.O.C. GAMBLING TAX?
 
UK government official says the infrastructure could be ready to go 8 months earlier than planned
 
With the debate about the legality of the proposed UK point-of-consumption based remote gambling tax still swirling around the issue, a British government official this week reported that the infrastructure supporting such a policy could be ready for implementation as early as April 2014 – eight months ahead of previous estimates on implementation.
 
The rapid progress in developing the p.o.c. tax was outlined by DCMS senior official Jonathan Stephens in a written brief to parliamentarians considering the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill.
 
Stephens wrote that contingent on parliamentary time schedules, and assuming that the bill secures a third reading, it should be possible to "…commence the new arrangements at the earliest by the common commencement date of April 2014 or, more likely, October 2014; slightly earlier than December 2014 which was mentioned during the evidence session.”
 
Stephens' brief repeated his earlier verbal comment to politicians that he was not competent to speculate on the legality of the new secondary licensing and taxation proposals in terms of EU law, but he noted that the UK government was not implementing the new remote gambling law for purely taxation motives.
 
The changes are aimed at providing necessary and proportionate improvements to consumer protection for British citizens, Stephens emphasised.
 
The British legislative changes will ultimately be considered by the European Commission to determine EU legality, and it appears that Stephens is preparing the groundwork for a defence of the law based on the principle that a Member State is allowed to make such changes where it can show that it acts in the interests of its citizens, and not for purely tax raising motives.
 
Stephens' latest brief will be read with interest by the Gibraltar Gaming Association, which has already amassed a half-million-sterling war chest to fight the implementation of the new law.  And the government of Malta has already lodged an objection to the UK law with the Commission.