The British government’s intention to tighten tax laws calculated on free plays is reportedly giving online gambling operators already feeling the pain of the p.o.c. tax food for thought on the ubiquitous use of the Free Spin as a marketing, incentive and loyalty tool.
In a speech earlier this year Chancellor George Osborne said that from August 2017 online casino and bingo operators will have to pay tax on free plays in order to bring them into line with the sports book and racing gambling sectors, which already pay tax on discounted and free bets under the General Betting Duty.
Osborne’s speech was confirmed by a budget document which noted:
“Remote gaming operators currently benefit from a more generous tax treatment when they offer discounted or free gambling (‘freeplays’) to customers in Remote Gaming Duty than would be the case for operators offering free bets on things like football and horseracing.
“The government will therefore amend the tax treatment of freeplays in Remote Gaming Duty to bring it into line with the tax treatment of free bets in General Betting Duty.”
Whilst the implementation of such changes will initially cost the government around GBP 20 million, it has been estimated it will in the years ahead bring in growing tax revenue that could reach GBP 110 million five years hence…but that’s if licensees continue to offer fee plays at the present level, which is unlikely once the new tax provisions kick in.