A gaming tax on freeplays that was previously discarded from the UK’s Finance Bill 2017 has been re-introduced, it has emerged. Despite officials declaring there wouldn’t be enough time to assess various parts of the original legislation, the additional tax will be reconsidered after the UK Government returns from its annual break in September.
Freeplays is the term referring to free bets, discounts as well as other incentives used by gaming operators to acquire new customers or promote retention. HM Revenue and Customs introduced a policy last year that would install a remote gaming duty to bring freeplays in line with general betting taxation policies. The duty was slated to be part of the Finance Bill but was omitted due to the short time ahead of the UK general election in June.
New plans will introduce the tax on August 1, giving UK-facing operators limited time to prepare working within the new tax regime. The duty specifies that freeplays will be considered taxable gaming payments every time they are played, whereas accumulated winnings cannot be deducted from the tax calculation until the player is set to collect winnings. HMRC noted the change would have an impact on around 130 bookmakers.
The new version of the Bill is expected to be passed later in late September or early October, as the industry awaits the results of the triennial review. The UK’s tax authority added that the additional tax would raise an extra £45m (US$59m) in the first year, and expected to increase to £110m by 2020/21.