The United Kingdom Gambling Commission, the UKGC, is making some necessary changes to the landscape of gambling in the United Kingdom. New laws, stricter regulations, and taxing are only some of the things that the UKGC is introducing under its leadership and new vision.
Free-Plays Taxes To Become Active Again?
Free plays are promotional offers that give players free bets, incentives, promotions, and discounts. The gambling operators offer these bonuses to their existing customers, or to new players to attract them and encourage them to sign up and start gaming. The treasury has announced, following a consultation that took place in Summer of 2016, that it had plans to charge RGD (Remote Gaming Duty) on the remote gambling Freeplays so that it can bring them into line with the same treatment of GBD (General Betting Duty).
Such proposal made its way to the Finance Bill, and this happened earlier in 2017, but the version that passed before the general election did not include the free plays taxing. On the other hand, the Freeplay taxing has made it in one of the provisions of the new Finance Bill (Number 2 2017), which is going through to the Parliament. The changes are going to take effect for the period that started on the first of August. It is going to apply to any form of remote gambling that a UK resident plays.
How will the New Tax and the RGD Work?
The Remote Gaming Duty taxing is going to apply on all forms of gaming through radio, phone, the radio or the internet, and any electronic communications. According to the new regulations, the Freeplay that the customer uses are going, under particular circumstances, to have a value to determine the profits of remote gaming for the operator that offered those Freeplays.
According to Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the new tax is going to affect approximately 130 gambling operators. It also estimated that it is going to result in an increase of 45 million pounds in taxes during the 1st year, and will increase to 110 million by 2020-2021. While developing such legislations, the HMRC made one significant modification resulting from the consultation of 2016, which is relating to the use by the remote gaming operators of what is called “re-wagering.”
When players use the Freeplay, they use it only once, and they claim rewards on their winning stakes. When it comes to remote gambling, players sometimes have to fulfill re-wagering requirements, which means that they will have to play with their winnings a certain amount or a certain multiple before they can withdraw these winnings. The consultation convinced the government that the taxing of all Freeplay, especially in the case of remote gambling, is going to impose a significant burden. Therefore, the new tax is only going to apply to the very first usage of the Freeplay. Lastly, the changes also stated that all games that players can play for free would not be subject to any charge to Remote Gaming Duty, and any winnings from these games are not going to be in the duty calculation.
The United Kingdom is Changing its Attitude towards Gambling
It seems that not only the UKGC that is changing its views on wagering and hardening the rules against it. It appears that also the people of the UK are also having a change of heart towards gambling as the number of individuals that believe that the gamblers should have the ability to gamble anytime they want decreased from 78% in 2010, to 67% in 2016.
There is also a crucial indicator that there is a change in the public opinion, which is the sum people that now believe that wagering represents a danger to the family. Back in 2010, individuals who had this ideology reached 67%, but in 2016, it increased to reach 69%. Last but not least, the percentage of the UK population that believes that wagering should not be encouraged rose from 36% in 2010 to 55% in 2016.
The Chairman of the UKGC, William Moyes, stated that the majority of the punters confine the losses to that they think they can afford to lose. They consider it to be the cost for the entertainment they are having, and for this group, the primary consideration is that wagering should be fair, transparent and free of any criminal activity. According to the UKGC Chief Executive, Sarah Harrison, there are currently thirty-five projects that are under process through the voluntary industry scheme, which is going to commission and fund the research on treatment and prevention. She added that the group welcomes all of these initiatives, but continue to encourage the gambling industry to invest more in using technology and data to give power to the players and help reduce any harm.
The Gambling Commission Launches A Consultation for lottery Transparency
The UKGC has recently launched a Lottery Transparency consultation that aims to introduce significant changes that are going to make the activity of Social Lotteries more transparent. The Gambling Commission wants to make it clear for the public and easy for them to see where the money that the lottery raises from selling the tickets ends up. In the last consultation by the UKGC, the group aims to propose to the lottery operators to make it clear for its clients to know which society or organization is going to get the proceeds before they purchase the ticket. Also, the UKGC calls for all lottery operators to publish the figures that would confirm exactly the amount of money that they raised from the tickets, and how much of it that the organizations and the lottery firms will use in the form of administration and expenditure costs.
In total, Lottery money raised 404.9 million pounds for good causes, and this is for the period from July to September of 2016, which rose 9.9% when compared with the previous quarter of the same year. The lottery transparency consultation is looking forward to addressing what the UKGC views as Low-Frequency Lottery and Instant Win.
The UKGC also released a statement through its site, through its Executive Director, Sarah Gardner, who stated that the lotteries represent a crucial income source for many of the good causes around the country. These causes include hospice, community groups, and air-ambulance services in addition to many charitable causes. She stated that they want to improve the confidence that the consumers have in the lottery sector so they can protect the funds that benefit so many society and fund many causes around the country. Transparency will play a significant role because, in the end, the punters need to know that the money that they are paying for the tickets end up going to the organizations and the people who need it. On the one hand, the changes that the UKGC is proposing are not going to be a surprise to the Lottery companies, but also, the UKGC wants to incorporate the views of the public and the industry on its proposals.