UK Proposes Reforms to Poker Tax Laws
Wednesday, 13. January 2010

This week the United Kingdom’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport announced proposed reforms to their regulatory gambling structure. These reforms would force offshore operators licensed outside of the United Kingdom to apply for licensing from the U.K. Gambling Commission if they wish to provide services or advertise in the U.K. To date, operators located in offshore tax havens such as Malta, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar were able to avoid tax levies while advertising in the U.K. This situation would change should the proposed reforms pass.

There are additional modifications proposed to the current system including the requirement of operators to share information as regards suspicious betting patterns with the U.K. authorities.

In defense of this proposed move, Gerry Sutcliff, U.K. Sports Minister was quoted as saying: “Online gambling has changed significantly in recent years with many European countries taking new approaches to regulation. It would be wrong of us to stand still where many things are changing around us, especially where the protection of British consumers is at stake.

The European consumer-led campaign, Right2bet, stated that it hopes that the U.K. does not follow the example of countries such as Italy, that recently introduced business taxes ranging from 2%-5% on online poker and bookmaking sites, through the blocking of operators from the market or further burdening the consumer with extra charges.

Vicky Coren, Pokerstars Team member and The Guardian columnist, recently voiced her opposition to the proposed reforms stating that it was ridiculous that the U.K. government would want to push super-casinos and unlimited slot machine jackpots, “mindless gambling,” and yet punish a game of skill.