UK: BGC opposes “Trojan horse” gambling tax reforms

The BGC says the plans could have a negative impact on sports.
The BGC says the plans could have a negative impact on sports.

The Betting and Gaming Council said the move would be a “hammer blow” to horse racing finances.

UK.- The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has expressed its opposition to plans to reform British gambling taxes. In his Autumn Statement last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced that the government would consult on plans to introduce a single unified remote gambling tax to replace the three current taxes of remote gaming duty, general betting duty and pool betting duty.

However, the BGC described the plan as a “Trojan horse” to raise taxes on the gambling sector. It says the move would have a negative impact on sports, especially horse racing, by causing lower margins and thus fewer offers and less funding through sponsorship.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “Any further new tax rises could be a hammer blow for horse racing’s finances. These are already threatened thanks to measures proposed by the government in the recent white paper. 

“This is a sport which relies heavily on betting operators for its success, yet the government appears determined to draft in measures which shrink the industry with huge ramifications for other sectors, like horse racing.”

He criticised the treasury for not consulting the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the new proposal. “It seems they are high on tax but low on joined-up government,” Dugher said. “There are genuine fears that any so-called simplification of the current tax structure will be nothing more than a Trojan Horse to further raise taxes on businesses. 

“This has the potential to risk jobs and investment and undermine the competitiveness of British horse racing on the global stage, placing its rich history and heritage in peril. We were promised an Autumn Statement that would deliver growth – the only thing growing is the list of worries for the betting and horse racing industries.”

The proposed changes would affect remote gambling only (internet, telephone, TV and radio); not land-based gaming or retail betting. At present, remote gaming duty is 21 per cent on remote gaming profit, general betting duty is calculated at 15 per cent of net stake receipts and pool betting duty is charged as 15 per cent of receipts. Hunt has said that the government will consult on the proposed changes soon.

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