The Offshore Gambling Licensing Bill in the U.K. Driven by Horse Racing Lobby

Published Sunday, March 04, 2012 -

The United Kingdom has had legal and regulated online gambling for many years now and the time has come to revamp the system to update its regulations and upgrade the tax regime. The Offshore Gambling (Licensing) Bill introduced to the U.K. parliament does not come as a surprise to operators who have been expecting the changes.

The Bill was introduced by MP Matthew Hancock, representative for West Suffolk, and Newmarket, the centre of horseracing in the UK.  The Bill would if passed give additional income to the horseracing industry. Racehorse owner P.J.D Pottinger has donated six figure sums to Hancock’s constituency association. It is obvious and with transparency that the high profile horse racing lobby is driving the Bill forward. An expert on the issue said,Hancock has, “successfully managed to persuade a handful of MPs to vote for his Bill”.  The Bill does look like it has the support of the coalition government and operators should prepare for changes not to their liking.

The Members of the coalition government are unlikely to raise duty above 15%, on Gross Gaming Yield. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is looking at sending the offshore white listed operators a new tax that will take a big slice of the profit pie from operators. A number of operators licensed in the Isle of Man are non UK facing and therefore would be faced with relatively minor duty charges.  On the other side of the coin The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, informed the Gibraltar Chronicle that the proposed bill and the inevitable taxation which would come to pass revealing there are, “issues on the horizon for Gibraltar”. Gibraltar’s economy is the concern for the industry is a major employer and changes will impact the country.
Passing of the Bill could create issues for The Alderney Gambling Control Commission where the majority of their licensees appear, to be licensed solely in the jurisdiction with minimal physical presence. 

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