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UK Government warns: Modernize casino rules first before adding extra charges

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David Williams, Rank Group CEO and Founder of the Rank Group said in an op ed for the Betting & Gaming Council’s (BGC) BGC that the industry must adopt changes to benefit it if they are to survive.

Williams insists on the need to prioritize these measures before the National Living Wage increase and anticipated impact of freezing the casino duty bands. According to BGC, the latter would cost the industry PS5m per annum.

Williams, Rank’s director of Public Affairs, stated that the industry will only be able to survive the increased costs if the policies outlined in Rank’s white paper are implemented first.

The casinos will be allowed to accept sports wagering and the allocation of gaming machines. Williams says that the use of electronic payments is another key change.

Williams stated that the industry needs to be modernised in order to increase revenue and absorb costs. He said that this is the only way to achieve success.

Williams said: “These improvements are not coming soon enough and that is why the industry urges the government to deliver their response to land-based consultation and lay the necessary legal instruments, and get the legislation passed in the first six months of 2024. All of this takes time. And while timing is important, time does not always favor us.

We are catching up with other casinos around the world and the gambling industry in general. We can only make our casinos modern and attractive once the new legislation has been passed.

BGC accuses UK Government of a PS5m Casino Tax Raid

The BGC accused UK authorities of an undercover tax raid against casinos in November 2023. The industry could lose up to PS5m a year.

This claim relates the the freezing of gaming duties bands outlined by Chancellor of Exchequer Jeremy Hunt in his autumn statement. BGC stated in a press release that the casino industry had expected the gaming duty bands to rise along with inflation.

Jeremy Hunt said that the government would soon be consulting on how to bring remote gaming under one tax

BGC stated that the freezing of gaming duty bands will result in a tax increase to casinos worth 25 million PS over the next 5 years.

Michael Dugher is the chief executive officer of BGC. He has stated that the “stealth taxes” could slow down the recovery process and undermine future growth.

He said that removing it at this crucial moment would have given a boost to the casino industry. The decision to keep the status quo is a lost opportunity for businesses that are ready to create jobs and invest across the nation.

BGC stated that the casinos contributed PS300m in tax revenue annually. The sector is estimated to contribute PS800m in value annually across the economy.

Casinos have also been hard hit by the crisis in cost of living. BGC reported that 4 casinos closed recently, and the industry employs 25 % fewer people than it did four years ago. Since 2005, one in four casino have shut down. There are only 117 casinos left across the nation.

Consultations on the UK White Paper

The white paper on the Gambling Act Review, published in April of this year, outlines the future regulation of gambling in the UK. The Gambling Commission is currently evaluating several proposals in the whitepaper. In July, the first consultation began.

the gambling act review white paper was finally published in april

BGC has largely endorsed the gambling whitepaper of the Government, particularly in regards to reforming casinos. This white paper contains proposals for affordability checks, sport betting and machine numbering.

The first round, which ended in October, focused on financial risks and vulnerabilities, as well as improving the age verification process at venues. Over 3,000 submissions have been made.

Seven topics will be covered in the next round, including online bonuses. Tim Miller, Executive Director of Policy at the Commission, said that it is expected to end in either February or March.

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