New Offshore Gaming Tax

7 August 2013 – By Linda Jefferson

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Online gambling is a very popular way of entertainment in Europe and many gamblers have chosen this method instead of going to their local land based casino. Online gambling covers traditional casino games, sports and other sectors. In the United Kingdom, the online casino market is very well developed and many players enjoy their favorite games from the comfort of their own homes. Recently, the government has announced they will impose a 15percent tax rate on operators based in offshore havens to sidestep Britain’s gambling taxes. Offshore online betting companies used by UK residents will have to pay the new tax, raising an estimated £300 million for the Treasury.

The new tax will be imposed starting with December 2014 and according to the new rules, gambling must be taxed according to where customers are based rather than where the online operator is registered. According to the Economic Secretary of the Treasury, the new tax will ensure that remote gambling operators who have UK customers make a fair contribution to the public finances as it has become unacceptable that gambling companies to avoid UK taxes by moving offshore. These reforms will affect some of the industry’s largest players, including Ladbrokes, Bwin.party, William Hill and Betfair, who all have online operations based in Gibraltar, where taxes are levied at 1percent and capped at £425,000. Chief Executive from Remote Gambling Association said in a statement that although this is not new for them, they are focusing on trying to get the actual rate of the tax reduced.

Offshore gaming companies will be taxed at the same level as domestic internet betting companies after the 15percent tax rate is confirmed in the budget statement next March. The largest player in the online gambling market, William Hill, has previously suggested that it could challenge the new law on the grounds that it breaches European Union competition law. Numbers show that the estimated worldwide remote gross gambling yield (GGY), excluding telephone betting, was £21.08 billion during 2012, up 5 percent on the previous year. The Gambling Commission said remote GGY for operators licensed in Great Britain accounts for approximately 4percent of the global total.

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