Chancellor Philip Hammond delivers the UK’s latest Budget later today with a wide expectation that remote gaming duty is set to see an increase from its current 15 per cent level.
Licensed UK operators remain hopeful of avoiding a nightmare scenario that would see the government implement a 20 per cent – or even higher – ceiling, as an indirect remedy for the multi-million pound hole that will result from the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport’s confirmation that FOBT wagering would be reduced from £100 to £2.
Chancellor Hammond’s anticipated RGD increase would represent online gambling’s third tax charge in four years, following point-of-consumption (POC, 2014) and Industry Free-Play taxes (2016).
With the potential changes on the horizon let’s take a look back to last month’s CasinoBeats summit, featuring a panel titled UK Tax Hike. As the consultation process begins, what are the implications for the UK sector in terms of potential job losses, etc?’
The subsequent panel was made up by its moderator David Clifton, director at Clifton Davies Consultancy, and a trio of speakers, namely James Myles, analyst at Eta Delta, Steven Effingham, director of tax policy at EY and Clive Hawkswood, chief executive officer at the Remote Gambling Association.
Opening discussions, Clifton stated: “Its seems a long distance now, the days of Tessa Jowell, the former Minister of Culture, Media & Sports under Tony Blair, stating that the UK would lead the world in terms of gambling, through light-touch regulations”.
While Hawkswood commented “There is really no time for a grieving process, anyone who deals with the government recognises that fairness does not come into play… you might as well shout at the moon,” when responding to comments by Tracey Crouch, that an RGD increase is necessary “in order to secure government finances, and to protect the funding of vital public services”.