UK and Ireland Revamp Gambling Laws

The UK government proposed in January 2011 that foreign operators, even from white listed jurisdictions must obtain a British and pay tax. Changes pertaining to the above might be imposed as early as March 2011. From the time when the publication first hit the press the government hired various consultants to investigate the matter. The findings will be released middle March.

The journal “This Is Money” issued a detailed discussion on the matter. It indicates that British online casinos which moved their offices abroad and are currently paying a 1% tax would be affected the worst if they would pay a 15% tax rate according to British Law. These online casinos are SportingBet, PartyGaming, 888, William Hill and Ladbrokes.

Despite the fact that they save significantly in taxes, they spent millions of pounds advertising their product verticals like sports books, casinos and poker rooms to gamblers from the United Kingdom. They do this through sponsorships and advertising. “This Is Money” made a valid point by stating that if these operators must pay a higher tax, they will have to cut back on their sponsorship and advertising deals. In short this will have a negative impact on the industry.

“This Is Money” interviewed Ian Burke, CEO of Rank Group. Burke stipulated that a large proportion of the newly regulated internet gambling markets in Europe are now charging higher taxes; it just common sense for the UK to follow suit. He poited out this would weed out weaker operators. Several operators’ payout percentages hover around 97% so there would be no room to soak up such a jump in tax.

Because of changes within the industry, gambling laws in Northern Ireland became outdated since the introduction of new formats of gambling. Consequently Alex Attwood, Social Development Minister proposed a holistic review of the whole gambling sector. A lot of the issued are centred on land-based casinos and lotteries. Gambling on Sundays is one of the aspects covered. Current laws dictate that on Sundays all gambling establishments remain closed and the minister is aiming to change this. For internet gambling, the minister wants to introduce a controlled mechanism with a licensing scheme. Additional areas of concern discussed in the agenda are clamping down on crime, enforcement and regulation and problem gambling.

Attwood said, “I have the public’s best interest at heart. My aim is to find a balance between developing gambling as a leisure pursuit and also to mitigate its damaging effects. I consent by means of creating a single licensing body imposing penalties on internet casinos that violate licensing conditions.” He concluded the next administration would come to a final decisions and encourage the required legislation.



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