n its publication, Rank sets out the benefits of simplifying the current system, replacing the seven different regimes of taxation with one common rate of duty:
- Greater fairness: to remove of arbitrary distortions, particularly those which penalise UK domiciled companies and benefit offshore companies;
- Greater economic contribution: to generate greater and more sustainable revenues for Exchequer and to stimulate job creation and other economic benefits;
- Lower administration costs: to reduce the administrative burden of tax compliance and tax collection, enabling both companies and HM Revenue and Customs to achieve substantial cost savings;
- Support social policy: to achieve alignment with the Gambling Act by ending the current discrimination against those forms of betting and gaming with the highest levels of customer protection.
Under the proposals, a 15% rate of duty would apply to each of the activities currently governed by the Gambling Act, including sports betting, bingo, casino games, card room games, amusement machines and football pools. The duty will be applied consistently regardless of whether the activity takes place in a land-based venue (such as a betting shop or bingo club) or via an offshore internet server.
Based upon the work carried out to date, the Exchequer could increase its tax take from the sector by imposing a 15% rate.
Ian Burke, chief executive of Rank said: "At the moment the gaming and betting activities of UK consumers are subject to a patchwork quilt of taxation, without any apparent logic or relationship to social policy. Some games are currently subject to a multiplicity of different tax rates, depending on where and how they are played.”
"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," Burke added.