SkyBet chief urges against gambling tax rise in UK

8 November 2017

Richard Flint, chief executive of Sky Betting & Gaming, has urged the UK government not to increase the current tax rate on gambling companies active in the country, warning that such a move could hamper future investment plans.

The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, will unveil his autumn budget later this month, and although he has not singled out gambling as a sector that could be hit, Flint said in an interview with the Telegraph it was “not inconceivable” that gambling-related taxes could rise.

The UK’s current 15% point-of-consumption tax was implemented in December of 2014 as a way of stopping off-shore companies from avoiding paying tax in the UK.

Companies offering gambling services to punters in the UK must now pay taxes regardless of where the operator is based.

“We are prepared to have the penalty [of higher taxes] versus being based offshore but it could become unsustainable if taxes are increased too much,” Flint told the newspaper.

Flint said that for the year to June 2017, Sky Bet paid £153m (€173.4m/$201.1m) in taxes, equivalent to 30% of its revenue, and added that as the company is based in the UK, it means it has to pay VAT on marketing expenditure – something that is not levied on those based offshore.

The comments come at a somewhat uncertain time for the UK gambling market as the government undertakes a 12-week consultation into the current state of the domestic industry.

The government intends to look at issues surrounding how to protect vulnerable people and children by changing current laws and regulations regarding online gaming and advertising.

Related article: UK government considers £2, £50 max bet options for FOBTs