|Leading online gaming operator PartyGaming has warned the British government that offshore Internet gaming groups operating in the UK without a licence will refuse to subject themselves to British regulation until the government makes it clear how they will be taxed.|
PartyGaming's position, which is believed to echo that of 888 and Sportingbet, follows the international summit at Ascot racecourse where British culture secretary Tessa Jowell introduced plans to regulate Internet gambling.
PartyGaming’s John Shepherd claimed, 'No one in this industry can yet make a judgment call because there is no decision on the tax regime. Secondary licences are something the industry will look at, but only after the issue of taxation is cleared up.'
However Ms Jowell has repeatedly refused to discuss taxation, insisting it is a matter for Treasury. 'The benefit to the economy is less important than our priority of protecting UK citizens,' she said yesterday.
'We will welcome them (online operators) here because we believe that by allowing those who want to gamble to do so over the counter, not under the counter, is the best way to protect children and vulnerable people and keep out crime.'
Industry commentators have forecasted that take-up of the new licences among operators based in off-shore tax havens would be slim without significant tax concessions.