Britain’s Rank Group Plc wants to see a single tax rate of 15 percent for all sectors of gaming. The move would create a level playing field on taxes for all activities currently regulated by the U.K. Gambling Act.
“At the moment the gaming and betting activities of U.K. consumers are subject to a patchwork quilt of taxation, without any apparent logic or relationship to social policy,” said Rank CEO Ian Burke. “Some games are currently subject to a multiplicity of different tax rates, depending on where and how they are played.”
For example, in a casino, the tax rate for table games and slot machines ranges from 15 percent up to 50 percent, depending on revenue. The same games played online with a U.K.-registered operator are subject to a fixed 15 percent tax, and with an operator working outside the U.K. there is no tax collected at all. Meanwhile, U.K. betting shops pay only a duty of £2,215 per fixed-odds betting terminal, which in effect is a slot machine.
The same tax inequalities hold true for poker, where the live casino/online U.K. casino/online non-U.K. casino rates are 15-50 percent/15 percent/0 percent, respectively.
Said Burke, “It is particularly concerning that the current system of taxation seems to be undermining the aims of the Gambling Act by imposing the highest rates of duty on those
venues which provide the greatest degree of supervision and have the lowest rates of underage gambling.”
The proposal from Rank is titled “Responsible Taxation-Fairness, Simplicity, Sustainability,” which in Brit-speak is so direct and to the point as to be the written equivalent of a torch-bearing mob descending on Parliament.
The document seeks to eliminate “arbitrary distortions” which hurt U.K.-registered operators and help those offshore, create more revenue and jobs for the U.K., save companies and government administrative costs, and increase consumer protection.