Veiled warning on tax increases from Skybet chief

News on 8 Nov 2017

In an interview with the Telegraph newspaper Tuesday SkyBet chief Richard Flint urged UK Chancellor Philip Hammond not to raise gambling-related taxes in the forthcoming Budget, claiming such a move could stifle his company’s domestic investment plans.

Flint noted that his company’s plans this year include the creation of 200 high-tech jobs at its Yorkshire site to add to the 1,300 people it already employs there, and he revealed that he has written to the Chancellor warning that any increase in the 15 percent p.o.c. tax could have consequences.

“We are prepared to have the penalty [of higher taxes] versus being based offshore but it could become unsustainable if taxes are increased too much,” he said.

SkyBet paid GBP 153 million in taxes in the year to June 30 – equivalent to 30 percent of its revenue.

Flint pointed out that because SkyBet is UK-based, it also pays VAT on its considerable marketing expenditure, a financial disadvantage that does not impact offshore-based operators.

Sky Betting & Gaming posted a 38 percent rise in revenue to GBP 516 million and EBITDA up 38 percent at GBP 146 million in its most recent annual results.

The company launched in Italy during the period in its first overseas expansion, and this month launched in Germany. The betting company is 80 percent owned by private equity group CVC Capital Partners.

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