Punters will no longer be taxed for having a bet after today’s Budget brought in sweeping changes to the betting duty system.
Chancellor Gordon Brown announced that bookmakers would be taxed on their gross profits at a rate of 15%. He is scrapping the system in which the Government collects betting duty of 6.75% from bookmakers, which is passed on to punters in a 9% tax.
Bookmakers can absorb all the costs of the new tax themselves, allowing punters to bet tax-free in this country.
The changes will come into effect from Janaury 1 next year.
The Chancellor’s action was designed to stem the loss in betting turnover to the offshore market which already offers punters tax-free betting.
“This is fantastic news,” said Warwick Bartlett, chairman of the British Betting Offices’ Association. “Our members have been badly-hit by the attractions of tax-free offshore betting – now I’m sure all the punters will come back again. I might even start betting myself!”
William Hill chairman John Brown said: “The British punter wins because this will make it possible for us to offer deduction-free betting for the first time since betting shops were introduced 40 years ago.
“The Treasury wins because at this level of duty we will be able to repatriate our offshore bookmaking operations, so the taxman will share in all the profits we make on our fast-growing international business.
“UK plc wins because we have a real opportunity to be the world’s leaders in on-line betting and turn the bookmaking industry into a big earner of foreign currency.
“The international potential is huge. poker online We have the best-regulated bookmaking industry in the world and punters from every country want to bet with us. The internet makes it possible for them to do so, and this new rate of duty means that all the benefit will stay in this country.”
Tote chairman Peter Jones said: “This is great news for punters and for bookmakers who will now be able to offer deduction-free betting. Turnover could increase by 50% or more as a result of this initiative.”
The Tote’s online betting arm, Totalbet, had secured a license in Malta from which it intended to trade to British and international punters.
However the transfer of the business will not now take place and Totalbet will concentrate on marketing to punters both in and outside Britain.
And Coral’s internet division, eurobetm, will relocate to Britain from Gibraltar.
Bob Scott, Coral Eurobet’s chief executive, said: “This is a bold and enlightened decision by the Government and great news for the betting and racing industries and for our customers.”
The repatriation of Eurobetm, which generated turnover of over £400 million from non-UK customers in the past financial year, will now provide additional revenues for the Treasury via the new Profit Tax.
The popularity of this move for the betting public prompted Coral Eurobet to shorten Labour to 1-10 to win the General Election with the Conservatives being eased out to 9-2.
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