Friday, July 15, 2011

UK government makes a positive tax justice move

From the Financial Times and the Guardian:
Any gambling operator wanting to offer a bet and advertise their products in the UK will have to obtain a licence, the government has announced.. . . The change may lead to offshore operators, located in low-taxation regimes, paying the same 15 per cent tax on their gross profits in the UK as paid by land-based operators.
The UK Gambling Act is to be changed so "remote gambling" is regulated according to where bets are placed rather than on the bookmaker's location. And then - then - we have John Penrose, the minister responsible for gambling, saying the following:
"The current system for regulating remote gambling doesn’t work. Overseas operators get an unfair advantage over UK-based companies, and British consumers who gamble online may have little or no protection depending on where the operator they deal with happens to be based.

The vast majority of bookmakers, including Ladbrokes and William Hill, have moved their online operations offshore because of the competitive advantage gained by overseas-based rivals. Mr Penrose said it was unfair that overseas operators took bets in the UK “without bearing a fair share of the costs of regulation” and of the treatment of problem gambling."
In other words, tax havens have been corrupting markets, providing a wholly unproductive subsidy to users of tax havens, helping corporations free ride on the taxpayer, taking the cream from the activity while passing off the costs onto others - and providing a secrecy cover for fraud and abusive or nefarious activity.

Sign that man up as a member of the Tax Justice Network! For all the appalling things this government has done in the cause of tax justice only for the wealthy, this move looks like a welcome move in the other direction. Credit where it is due.

Levelling the playing field on gambling was being discussed in the 1990s. Why has it taken such a long time, well over a decade, to do this?


Blogger Demetrius said...

But don't bet on it happening.

5:04 am  
Blogger James said...

This affects "gambling" - does that include online poker sites? If so there will be a lot of long faces in Alderney and Guernsey today.

6:39 am  

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