Free Bet Tax Reprieve for UK Online Gambling Operators

HMRC changes free bet tax.

HMRC revises its free bet tax policy, much to the relief of British betting operators. (Image: PSL Images/Alamy)

UK online gambling operators received a slight reprieve recently after HMRC decided to revise its stance on free bets.

Back in March, online operators were given a fright after Chancellor George Osborne announced that he would be seeking to apply the 15 percent general betting duty on free bets.

Until now, things such as welcome bonuses and free wagers haven’t been included in the levy operators have to pay on player bets.

A Tax Too Far for Operators

However, with reform on the horizon, Osborne, in conjunction with HMRC, announced that these bets would now be considered in the same context as a real money wager.

With this in mind, online casino, poker and sports betting sites were facing the prospect of paying a 15 percent tax on their free bet offers in 2017.

Not only that, but HMRC also insisted that free plays with wagering requirements would be taxable each time they were used.

Essentially, if a player received £10 free and then turned it into £30 while working through their wagering requirements, this action would be taxable.

Moreover, winnings accumulated during the re-wagering couldn’t be deducted from the tax calculation (even though the player could withdraw their funds).

Under the proposed rules, operators would have been liable for large amounts of tax on their free bets. In fact, such would be the burden that it may have led to them being removed.

Fortunately, however, HMRC has listened to the concerns of operators and agreed to alter its policy.

According to the latest reports, operators will now only have to pay a duty on the first use of any free play credits. Additionally, winnings will only be considered as part of the tax calculation once the re-wagering process is complete.

Although not ideal, the situation is a lot better than it could have been and should mean we’ll still be able to receive free bets for the foreseeable future.

Bookies Not Betting on Trump

In other UK gambling news this week, it seems as though some bookmakers are still not confident president-elect Donald Trump will be taking office on January 20.

As outlined in the Inquisitr, the likes of Ladbrokes are still offering betting lines around 10/1 that Barack Obama will still be in office come February 2017.

In reality, the likelihood of Trump not taking office in January is slim, which makes the 10/1 betting line interesting. Bookmakers are usually on point when it comes to setting their lines, so to have a relatively short price on something that seems a certainty is odd.

While it’s unlikely the bookies have access to any secret information, it’s definitely another wrinkle in what’s become the most interesting presidential battle in recent memory.

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