|A report published today by Europe Economics, a London-based independent economics consultancy, has issued a warning to the HM Treasury.|
The report, commissioned by Association of Remote Gambling Operators (ARGO), states that unless a way is found to reduce the potential tax liabilities for online gaming operators, there is little or no incentive for any of the major players to be located in the UK when the Gambling Bill comes into force.
The report concludes that the Government needs to adopt regulations that are effective, proportionate and targeted; and recognise that taxes influence the location decision of operators and therefore the effectiveness of any regulations.
‘There is intense international competition between remote gambling operators based in any number of other viable low-tax jurisdictions,’ explained the report’s author, John Spicer, ‘Against that background, the Government should be careful not to price the UK out of the market’.
ARGO Chairman, Ian Spearing (William Hill), added: ‘This report is an important piece of work that we hope will set the scene for further discussions with HM Treasury about the future tax regime.
Quite simply, Britain could have the best gambling legislation and regulation in the world, but it will be to no effect if the tax regime acts as a fundamental disincentive for gambling operators to be based in this country.’
ARGO General Secretary, Clive Hawkswood, added: ‘If the Government is sincere in its desire, as Ministers have made plain in the past, to make Britain a world leader in this field then it needs to create a regulatory and tax environment which will allow this to happen.
‘The longer these matters remain unresolved, the more likely it is that major companies will find themselves permanent bases elsewhere, including within other EU Member States.’