UK Confirms Plan to Tax Offshore Gambling Operators UK Confirms Plan to Tax Offshore Gambling Operators

Announced in the annual budget report by the Chancellor, the UK will broaden the reach of its gambling taxation to include remote gambling operators.

Operators anywhere in the world will be required to pay gambling duties on revenue generated from customers based in the UK. This “point of consumption” means operators will not longer benefit from moving their operations offshore to escape gambling taxation for online operators.

The move has been in discussion for almost a year, since the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced it was launching a review of the existing gambling law. The mention in George Osborne’s budget today was not unexpected.

In 2007, the then-Chancellor Gordon Brown set the tax rate for all UK-based gambling operators at 15%. This effectively forced many high street brands, including Ladbrokes, William Hill and Betfair, to move their operations offshore to a “white-list jurisdiction,” escaping the taxation and still benefiting from advantages that a white-listed operator enjoys.

The few operators that stayed in the UK—Bet365 and Coral being the notable two—find it hard to compete with offshore operations. The proposed changes aim to level the playing field whilst raising more from the levy.

According to the budget, the specifics of then new operator tax are still “subject to consultation,” and legislative changes will be included a future Finance Bill.