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On-Line Gaming Banned In The UK

Jeremy Hetherington-Gore Unleashed
02 September, 2007

So the forces of darkness have won. With a fanfare, the UK government has brought into force its supposedly 'liberal' gaming legislation.

The reality is that the Act creates yet another army of officials with draconian powers to levy unlimited fines, withdraw licences, bring prosecutions, enter premises, seize goods and suspend and void bets.

And as regards tax on gaming, it will go up in all directions. True, the government won't be collecting more revenue from on-line gaming operators, but that's only because Gordon Brown's Calvinist streak has ensured that the remote gaming duty is set so high (at 15% of gross profits) that native on-line operators will become rarer than Lesser Speckled Hackney Marsh Owls.

15% of gross profits means anywhere from 30% of net profits upwards, and that's before corporation tax or any of the other taxes British businesses get to enjoy.

The winners in all this may be the gaming operators in Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Alderney and Malta, who can apparently advertise in and provide gaming services to UK residents without needing to have a UK license or pay the remote gaming duty.

I say 'apparently', because the wording of the Act could be constructed so as to allow the gaming duty to be applied to their UK turnover; and there are issues over VAT on services provided within the EU which could catch operators who don't register in the UK and benefit from VAT exemption.

As with financial services, for the majority of operators who are based outside the charmed circle of the UK and its dependencies, there are major uncertainties over what constitutes the provision of remote gaming in the UK, and the Gambling Commission will no doubt be just as energetic as the FSA in working for as wide a definition as possible.

If you own a gaming business, just make sure you stay away in future. The UK doesn't want you (but will take your profits and put you in gaol if it can!)


About the Author

Jeremy Hetherington-Gore Unleashed

Jeremy tackles the difficult issues head on!


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