Michael Dugher takes aim at potential changes to tax regime for UK operators as detailed in Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement
Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) CEO Michael Dugher has said any potential betting duty hike would be a “hammer blow” for horseracing.
Dugher slated Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement, which deep buried within the 120-page document included a consultation on remote gambling tax.
The consultation will explore bringing in a “single tax, rather than taxing it [remote betting] through a three-tax structure”.
This could effectively see general betting and pool betting, which are currently set at 15% of operator GGR, brought in line with remote gaming duty which is set at 21% of operators’ GGR.
Dugher said any “so called simplification of the current tax structure will be nothing more than a Trojan Horse to further raise taxes on businesses” and would likely lead to lower margins, fewer offers for customers and less funding for horseracing.
Dugher added the tax would only further compound the woes faced by horseracing in the face of affordability checks laid out in the white paper into the Gambling Act 2005 review.
The CEO said: “This is a sport which relies heavily on betting operators for its success, yet the government appears determined to draft in measures which will shrink the industry with huge ramifications for other sectors, like horseracing.”
Dugher proceeded to take aim at the Treasury before noting any tax rise had the potential to lead to job losses and lower investment.
“What’s worse, the Treasury didn’t bother to consult or even inform the DCMS, which is the department responsible for betting and racing. It seems they are high on tax but low on joined-up government.
The CEO concluded: “We were promised an Autumn Statement that would deliver growth – the only thing growing is the list of worries for the betting and horseracing industries.”