Betting and Gaming Council Warns UK Gambling Tax Plan is a Trojan Horse

The UK Treasury’s Proposed Tax Increase Worries Betting and Gaming Council

In the wake of a potential new tax plan for the gambling industry, the UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has raised concerns about the impact on horse racing. The plan, which is hinted at in the Autumn Statement released by the UK government, could involve a tax increase on remote betting.

The current tax rates for sports betting and remote gaming are 15% and 21% of profits, respectively. The BGC is concerned that the government may raise the remote betting tax to match the rate of remote gaming. According to BGC CEO Michael Dugher, there are fears that the proposed tax structure simplification could be a “Trojan Horse” for further tax increases on businesses.

The potential tax increase comes at a time when the horse racing industry is already facing declines in participation and revenue. The introduction of affordability checks and responsible gambling taxes, along with the lack of collaboration between the Treasury and the gaming industry, has already put significant pressure on operators and players.

The BGC stated that over 10,000 people in the gambling and betting industry have lost their jobs since 2019, partly due to the impact of COVID-19 and partly due to government and regulatory actions. The regulated gambling ecosystem currently contributes around £4.2 billion (US$5.3 billion) in tax revenue, but the proposed tax increase could potentially drive punters toward unregulated online gaming sites, leading to a decrease in tax revenue for the government.

Additionally, the cost of livestreaming horse races is also increasing, putting further financial strain on operators. According to a study conducted by PWC, the use of unregulated online gaming sites has already seen a significant increase, and a larger exodus is expected if the UK government implements all the planned restrictions.

Overall, the proposed tax increase has raised concerns about the potential negative impact on the horse racing industry and the wider gambling ecosystem in the UK. The lack of prior discussion and collaboration between the government and the industry has added to the uncertainty and challenges faced by operators and players.