TAX CHANGES AHEAD FOR U.K. ONLINE GAMBLING
Draft legalization aims to level the online – retail tax playing field.
Draft legalization has been prepared by the UK government proposing tax treatment changes to the country’s online gaming industry designed to bring it in line with fixed-odds general betting, according to a report in Bloomberg business news.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has indicated in an August 9 consultation that it intends to remove the current tax imbalances between the two industries by making online gaming companies pay taxes in the same way as betting companies do on free plays that they offer to customers.
London analysts have opined that online gambling operators have hitherto enjoyed "more generous tax treatment" from the government, and that the proposals are a clear attempt to "level the playing field" with the gaming and betting industry. As a result, some operators may find it necessary to offer better winning opportunities instead of free-plays, one suggested.
Online gaming is subject to the U.K.’s 15 percent on profit remote gambling tax, while fixed-odds betting and pooled bets on horses and dog racing are subject to general betting tax. Free plays, such as free spins in bingo, are omitted in tax calculations for online gaming companies, but are included for betting companies under general betting duty.
From August 2017, free plays from online gaming companies will have a taxable value for tax purposes under the remote gambling tax, HMRC has proposed..