Industry rumour that the UK government may be considering its tax options on offshore Internet gambling companies which advertise and benefit from betting by UK punters took on more substance this week when an official from HM Revenues and Customs confirmed that research was being done on the subject.
Earlier this year there were complaints from horseracing officials that offshore companies were benefitting from the UK market without paying levies , fuelling speculation that UK betting companies may have urged government to level the playing field. This was linked to fears that major UK groups may be contemplating a move offshore to better compete in a more benevolent tax climate.
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The announcement that the UK government's advertising white list would not accept any further licensing jurisdictions whilst the Gambling Act was being reviewed also caused some alarm.
This week a spokesman for HM Revenues and Customs told EGR: “Although HMRC is currently looking at the tax issues involved with a view to identifying the risks to UK taxes resulting from the locations offshore, no specialist unit has been set up.”