Remote Duty Increase – Bookmaker News

Chancellor imposes higher tax rate on offshore gaming operators

Bookmaker News

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has increased remote gaming duty from 15 to 21 percent in his Budget announced this week. The extra six per cent will affect all those operators who offer casino-type games to UK customers from locations outside of the UK.

The rate increase will put extra pressure on online gambling operators but has been designed to cover the shortfall in tax revenues expected to materialise once the limit on FOBTs (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals) is reduced from £100 to just £2. Those two changes will come into effect in October 2019 but gambling awareness campaigners are angry that the implementation of the new lower limit on FOBTs has been delayed for 12 months when it was initially indicated that the changeover would be made next April.

Nicknamed the crack cocaine of gambling addiction by their many opponents, FOBTs have become a divisive issue in parliament itself and bookmakers have been bracing themselves for bad news in the Budget for months.

Share prices in Paddy Power Betfair and William Hill have both fallen sharply but there were fears that gaming duty could be increased by as much as 25 per cent. However, too big an increase would have caused betting operators to think twice about continuing in the UK market with any withdrawals likely to leave an even bigger hole in the country’s tax income. Jobs, especially among those bookmakers who also have a significant high street presence, are already thought to be at risk.

William Hill have already sold all of their racecourse pitches this month but will still run 41 shops on British racecourses on race days. Recently, the FA chief executive Martin Glenn revealed that football’s governing body is examining whether it can raise income from football betting to boost its coffers. It’s thought any levy, similar to that imposed on behalf of horse racing, could be worth tens of millions of pounds every year.

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