|The online gaming industry’s fears that the Treasury may hamper efforts by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to tempt online casinos to the U.K., by introducing heavy taxation, have spilled in to the press this week.|
Currently high street bookmakers pay 15% tax on gross profits and rumours are circulating that, once the forthcoming Gambling Bill is passed, Internet casinos could be required to do the same.
Although the Treasury has not yet announced any such plans, taxation will be a central issue for offshore businesses considering making the move, and for the vast majority 15% would be deemed unworkably high - particularly those enjoying tax free operations in places such as Alderney. As one operator put it to NewMediaZero, ‘They have to make it competitive. 15% isn't competitive with 0%.'
Many feel that the Government need to realise that the Bill must be more flexible to accommodate the different needs of different types of businesses. Hilary Stewart-Jones, a partner at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, said, 'All this elegant precision around the Bill has no point to it if the tax structure isn't right.'
'We'd all welcome an opportunity to [operate under licence] in the UK, added Suzanne Judge, spokeswoman for Littlewoods Casino, ‘provided it was a reasonably regulated and taxed environment.'