UK to Increase Remote Gambling Duty from September 2019

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UK to Increase Remote Gambling Duty from September 2019

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Green revealed in his autumn 2018 budget that the nation intends to increase the present rate of Remote Gambling Duty. This is a political change that will have far-reaching implications for all remote gambling operators currently servicing the UK marketplace.

After a flurry of speculation, it was anticipated that the Remote Gambling Duty would be increased from 15% and into the region of 20% to 25%. Ultimately, it transpired that the chancellor would settle on a figure of 21%, with the new Remote Gambling Duty coming into force from 1 October 2019.

At this early stage, it has been forecast that the UK government can expect to generate £130 million from the increased Remote Gambling Duty for the fiscal year 2019/20. Beyond that, it is anticipated that the government shall draw a further £290 million from UK-serving remote gambling operators for 2020/21.

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

Leading up the autumn budget, it had been speculated that gambling operators should brace themselves for a double tax increase, with fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) coming under fire from sections of the UK media. Based on that pressure, the government had indicated that it was considering whether to lower the maximum stakes of FOBTs.

In the end, Green revealed that the government was waiting until October 2019 to implement the increase in Remote Gambling Duty. That way any operators would have time to prepare for the eventual imposition of restrictions in wagering on FOBTs, which would almost certainly diminish revenues for operators in the sector.

It was back in May 2018 that the government accepted a proposed restriction that was put forth by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), which oversees the licensing and conduct of remote gambling operators in the country. The government plans to dramatically cut the current £100 limit on FOBTs down to a maximum stake of just £2.

UK Implications

A wave of gambling operators departed the UK marketplace when the government imposed more stringent licensing laws and responsibilities. The forthcoming increase in tax could lead to further departures from the marketplace, with smaller-scale operators likely to be affected, while larger operators could start merging to consolidate their positions

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