Affiliates braced to feel effects of remote gaming duty increase

British gambling operators are bracing themselves for a revenue hit, with the government’s new budget expected to include an increase on remote gaming duty (RGD) from its current rate of 15%. Such an increase will have a knock-on effect for affiliates, with less money in the pot all round.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will announce the budget later today, with UK-licensed operators desperate to avoid a further ‘nightmare scenario’, in which the government implements a +20% RGD tax charge, seeking to fill its £450 million FOBTs tax hole.

Hammond’s anticipated RGD increase would represent the online gambling’s third tax charge in four years, following point-of-consumption (POC-2014) and Industry Free-Play taxes (2016).

One positive for the industry is the expected delay on FOBT reductions. The Guardian newspaper yesterday reported that the UK government is set to delay implementing its mandatory £2 cut on FOBTs stakes until October of next year.

Since the Department for Digital, Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS) confirmation that FOBTs machine wagering would be drastically reduced from £100 to £2, the UK government has faced mounting criticism for delaying its directive.

Cross-party consensus has called for the government to implement its FOBTs reduction by no later than April 2019. Nevertheless, it has been well documented that the UK Treasury holds notable concerns on its likely budgetary shortfall, should the mandate be implemented.

In its report, The Guardian cites that Whitehall sources have revealed that the April 2019 target date has been removed from the Treasury’s pending 2019 budget policy.

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