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United Kingdom Wants to Force Offshore Gambling Operators to Pay Horse Racing Levy

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Jul/14/2011
Horse Racing Levy

In the wake of the Full Tilt Poker scandal, the United Kingdom is set to begin requiring offshore/online gambling enterprises to obtain licenses before they can target British citizens.  Furthermore, some officials want these businesses to pay a steep horse racing levy.

Full Tilt Poker had its license revoked July 1 by the Alderney Gaming Control Commission, forcing a shutdown of the troubled online poker firm and leaving customers unable to get paid.

The heritage minister, John Penrose said late Wednesday during an appearance before MPs: "We are intending to move as fast as we can towards a system which will fix the problem of offshore betting.

"We plan to move to a system which will switch away from the current organisation which has driven many bookmakers offshore.”

Regulation would focus on the point of consumption, or the UK bettor, as opposed to the production, Penrose suggested. 

"It means anybody based anywhere in the world who wants to sell gambling services to any consumer based in the UK will, in future, have to have a Gambling Commission licence."

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More ominous for those bookmakers working within the letter of the law, UK officials have suggested companies will be forced to pay a betting levy to the Government.  This would essentially mean that companies like William Hill, Victor Chandler and Ladbrokes would no longer escape paying steep taxes through setting up operations in neighboring channel islands like Alderney.  William Hill last year moved much of its telephone call center business offshore to avoid a horse racing betting levy.

"We need a level playing field by ensuring all gambling in the UK pays UK tax and UK levy," said Conservative MP Matthew Hancock.

Penrose agreed reform was needed.

"The levy as it currently stands is broken," he said. "It does not work and people on all sides – whether in the gambling industry or in racing – are pretty united in their criticism of it."

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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