How do UK gambling and betting tax laws affect players?

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The concept of gambling has been around the world since forever, and it is with no exception known to the world that the UK is one of the earliest countries to practice gambling for centuries. The very first type of gambling that the English people played was the betting games that came in the form of lotteries and horse racing. For a long time, the act of gambling was not accepted seriously by the government before it ran out of control amongst the public. It started causing serious constitutional and ethical problems in society, leading to the government’s decision to issue the Gaming Act of 1845. Under this act, any type of wagering was considered void by the law, automatically affecting the deals made between the gamblers and the wagerers. Thus, all forms of gambling became illegal, although the public still practised behind the law.


The status of gambling started to shift by the end of the 19th century when the government finally gave the green light to the public, but under one condition that it must be regulated by the Totalisator Board, a government-run institution. Since then, the popularity of gambling soared high. However, the practice of black market bettings was still being done, so the government-licensed off-site betting shops under the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960.

The current law of gambling in the UK

From the initial days, the gambling industry has been steadily evolving, and by the start of the millennium era, numerous changes have taken place in the UK’s gambling industry. The nature of gambling changed towards online bettings, which compelled the casino companies to shift towards tax-free havens like Gibraltar, Malta, and Cayman Island. This led to another change in the gambling legislation in the year 2001, abolishing betting taxes and replacing by a 15% tax on bookmakers’ gross profit in the UK. This enabled gamblers to bet with tax-free money.

Again in the year 2014, through the Licensing and Advertising Act, a new bill was levied on the casinos that hold a UK license which stated that 15% of their consumption tax would be imposed on all gross profits. This means, all the foreign casino companies were obligated to pay taxes on the profits earned from the UK customers, and whichever company failed to follow the law were barred from renewing the UK gambling license.

The newest bill on online gambling

In his 2018 budget, the UK Chancellor, Phillip Hammond declared a new gambling bill announcing that the 15% tax charges of the casino companies will be lifted to 21% on all ‘games of chance’. So, if players play the casino games, slots or any other fixed odds game of chance, an additional 6% tax with the 15% will be charged on the profits made by the casino operating in the UK. This bill is said to be in effect from the 1st of October, 2019.

Enforcement and liability

The current regulations of the UK gambling are set up on a whole series of criminal offences, which covers underage gambling, unlicensed gambling, promotion or facilitation of a lottery, and low-level or private gambling. Any players who have not reached the legal age of 18 are debarred from playing the casino games and is considered a criminal offence if done so. It is also considered a criminal offence in the UK when a person is involved in any material extent in the provision of gambling or gambling software without a proper license.

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Review Summary

Review Name : How do UK gambling and betting tax laws affect players?

Author : Julie Oliver

Published Date : 28/06/2019