Machine gaming duty in Great Britain appears to be falling, due mainly to an increase in remote gaming duty which has led to an uptick in gambling tax paid by the country’s gambling licence holders. The figures are for the financial year ending March 31, 2020.
The upshot of this scenario is that overall tax paid by the betting industry to HM Revenue and Customs has grown by 1.1% versus 2018-19 to £3.02billion.
RGC Responsible for Most of Increase
The largest increase within the recorded tax boost was from RGD, remote gaming duty, which climbed by 32.9% to over £705million following the raise from 15% to 21% of gross revenue, a move that was implemented as of April 1, 2019.
RGD’s contribution to overall betting duty claimed from the sector has now more than doubled since its introduction back in 2014, a major revenue source now for the customs office.
Alongside the new duty last year came the infamous decrease in maximum stakes allowed on FOBT’s, or fixed-odds betting terminals, which meant betting shop punters being allowed to stake up to only £2 per spin as opposed to £100 as it was before.
While those looking after the interests of players, especially on the subject of gambling related harm, understandably saw this as nothing but a positive step, the move did lead to the closure of hundreds of betting shops in the UK which led to thousands of job losses. The associated reduction in revenue from FOBT’s was highlighted in year-end results with a 29.2% decrease reported to £509.7million.
Overall Betting Duty Decreases
General betting duty, the tax paid by operators who offer fixed-odds betting online and/or in retail premises, has decreased by 5.3% to £586.2million. This duty is set at 15% of gross reported revenue. Another 15% rate is applied to pool betting duty, which was fractionally down too at £5.8million.
Gaming duty is the tax paid by bricks and mortar casinos, set at 10% of gross revenue, and that fell 4% to £213.4million while bingo duty was down to £30.8million, a fall of 7.9%.
Lottery duty is paid at 12% of overall scratch card and over-the-counter ticket sales for National Lottery draws, actually increased to a lifetime peak of 13.4% for a total of £967.7million. This now means the National Lottery is the largest individual source of gambling tax in the country, yet again leaving us to question why this niche is targeted much less by groups aiming to ban credit cards and cut advertising within gambling under the auspices of reducing gambling-related harm.
Calls for Tax Revenue to Be Reinvested Appropriately
On the subject of gambling-related harm, calls have been made from the UK Addiction Treatment Group for the government to reinvest more of the funds gathered via tax to the prevention of gambling addictions and dependency.
The group’s chief executive Eytan Alexander has spoken recently to say that for many gamblers, problems may never arise and they enjoy their pastime safely. However, there are people out there who remain susceptible to the online gambling sphere and can develop obsessive or harmful behaviour, with the group treating more and more “gamers” every year.
While this is not disputed, it remains a major source of annoyance for many within the industry as casino game players, horseplayers and casual betting shop punters are so often labelled as “problem gamblers”, while those who buy copious amounts of scratch cards and lottery tickets with absolutely no way of narrowing down their chances of winning are allowed to carry on, possibly even judging others.