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Rank Calls For Simpler UK Gaming Tax

by Robin Pilgrim,, London

03 March 2010

The Rank Group Plc has published proposals for the creation of a single regime of taxation for all betting and gaming activities in the UK.

In its publication entitled, ‘Responsible Taxation - Fairness, Simplicity, Sustainability’ 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 the 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; and
  • 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 would 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.

Rank argues that 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.”

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining the new possibilities that offshore e-commerce open up for business, and analysing the offshore jurisdictions that have led the way in offering professional e-commerce regimes for international business, with a particular focus on e-gaming, is available in the Lowtax Library at and a description of the report can be seen at

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