New ‘free bet’ tax set to hit online operators in UK

17 March 2016

UK Chancellor George Osborne has announced that operators licensed in the UK will be required to pay tax on ‘free bet’ offers for online casino and bingo games.

Unveiled yesterday (Wednesday) in the UK government’s latest budget proposal, the requirement will come into effect from August 1,2017.

Should the motion be approved, operators will be required to pay 15% general betting duty on all free or discounted online bets.

Online casino and bingo free bet offers were excluded from the 15% point-of-consumption tax on online gambling revenue that was introduced in the UK in 2014.

However, despite the potential introduction of the new requirement, Osborne opted not make any changes to regulations and tax laws surrounding the much-criticised fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

The machines have come under fire from various sectors in the UK due to their alleged addictive nature, with punters able to place a maximum stake of £100 (€127/$143).

The government is yet to budge on its potion on FOBTs, so far resisting calls to cut the maximum stake to just £2.

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