The Betting and Gaming Council has urged the UK government not to follow through with a planned consultation on reforming the way it taxes the gambling industry, warning changes could put the horse racing industry in “peril.”
Last week, the UK’s Chancellor Jeremy Hunt revealed the government is to discuss bringing the current three-pronged remote betting tax system into a single tax.
BGC CEO Michael Dugher said there are “genuine fears” in the horse racing industry that simplifying the current tax structure “will be nothing more than a trojan horse to further raise taxes on businesses.”
He added the reforms have the potential to “to risk jobs and investment and undermine the competitiveness of British horse racing on the global stage, placing its rich history and heritage in peril.”
Betting duty is currently 15 per cent, six per cent lower than remote gaming tax for products such as online casino games. Simplification of the tax system could result in an increase in betting duty.
The BGC said a hike in betting duty would “likely lead to lower margins on racing, fewer offers for punters and less funding to sponsor and promote the sport.”
Dugher said the Treasury “didn’t bother to consult or even inform” the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which oversees the UK’s gambling industry, about the proposals.
“It seems they are high on tax but low on joined up government,” he added.