|In an interview with NewMediaAge.com, Nigel Payne, CEO of Sportingbet, has said that the proposed U.K. Gambling Bill would drive his company offshore, and that the government’s attempt to court online operations is way off the mark.|
As one of the world’s biggest online sports books, Sportingbet should be just the kind of major player the government are trying to attract, but a proposed fifteen per cent tax charge offers no incentive to business that can pay zero percent offshore. 'Why don't I move offshore? I'm thinking I've got a fifteen percent profit improvement,' remarked Payne. 'In tidying things up they're giving [offshore jurisdictions] a competitive advantage.'
Sportingbet is currently licensed in Antigua as well as the U.K. Payne told NewMediaAge that under the proposed legislation he would be able to advertise freely into the U.K from offshore, thus avoiding tax.
The interview follows recent announcements of the company’s robust financial health. This week it raised profit goals for the year after cashing in on the failure of several favourites at the Cheltenham Festival. Operating profits are expected to be at least £19.5m for the year to 31 March, up from £14.5m a year ago and £1.5m higher than financial forecasts.