2017 Set to Be Tough on UK Gambling Operators
UK facing gambling operators look set to be in for a tough time during 2017. In addition to a possible crackdown on FOBTs, it also seems that freeplays and other related incentives and comps offered to online players will be taxed from 1st August 2017.
The tax change is likely to hit gambling companies’ profits hard especially the taxation of freeplays. At an estimate it is thought that as much as £345 million will be raised in freeplays taxes from August 2017 to 2021.
Previous changes to tax regulations have resulted in a number of mergers and acquisitions between gambling companies as they look to offset the impacts on their profitability.
It is not yet known how the latest changes will affect the UK gambling industry or whether more operators will begin looking for partners in order to avoid significant losses, but it wouldn’t be surprising.
This change combined with the possible clampdown on fixed odds betting terminals would be a significant blow for the industry, particularly to the operators that have retail operations at the core of their businesses. At present it is thought that the maximum bet on the machines could be lowered to just a few pounds in the spring of 2017 and this would have an immediate impact on profits.
In recent months there has been a lot of speculation regarding the merger of operators such as 888 Holdings and William Hill. While neither has yet secured a deal, it seems likely that they will be continuing to look for suitable partners.