Bookmakers Set To Receive £1Billion Tax Rebate In FOBT Victory
UK bookmakers have got reason to celebrate as they claim a rare victory against the tax man. As our regular readers are aware, the fixed odds betting terminal controversy is still in the headlines as the government has delayed the new restrictions on maximum wagers.
Bookmakers like Betfred are heavily dependent on these cash cows and any delay in implementing restrictions is a welcome relief. Betfred however have gone one step further in that they have succeeded in getting a massive tax rebate as a court ruled they were wrongly charged VAT on revenues from FOBTS.
A tax tribunal ruled that the collection of Vat on FOBTs between 2005 and 2013 had “breached the principle of fiscal neutrality” because similar roulette style games played in casinos were exempt from the specific tax.
In response to the ruling a spokesperson for HMRC declined to confirm or deny their appeal against the verdict but did say that they were giving it “careful consideration”. The ramifications of this hearing are significant as other bookmakers will take the lead of Betfred and also look for tax rebates that could be as much as £1 billion. Betfred alone is expected to receive in the region of £100m according to industry experts.
Needless to say this latest reprieve for Betfred has got anti FOBT campaigners up in arms as it follows the delay of the maximum wag cut in FOBTs. Spokesman for Fairer Gambling Matt Zarb- Cousin said, ”Instead of giving the bookies a double win, Treasury should instead put the tax for remote [online] gambling up to at least 25% in the budget this year and enact a £2 stake on FOBTs by April 2019.”