The online gaming industry is still relatively new, but it develops almost on a daily basis. Below we look at how government intervention could increase the tax levied on casino sites that operate in the UK and how mobile gaming is becoming more popular.
Will foreign online casinos be subject to higher taxes in the UK?
If you gamble online in the UK, you have one of the biggest selections of online casinos in the world. But if Prime Minister David Cameron gets his way and imposes higher taxes on foreign online casino operators, perhaps some of them will cease to run their UK sites.
At the moment much of the UK gambling takes place on overseas sites, in jurisdictions that are ‘white listed’, meaning that they can advertise in the UK. Many sites are based in Gibraltar – which is a UK territory.
All UK-based gambling operators are taxed 15% on gross revenues but foreign operators pay a much lower tax rate in their own jurisdiction – for example, Gibraltar based-sites only pay one per cent in taxes. Obviously this differential allows the foreign-based operators to give much more attractive and bonuses and better odds to their players.
As the UK government can’t make other governments increase the tax rates, Cameron’s proposed change is to require all gambling sites that wish to operate in the UK to also be licensed here. The 15% tax rate would be a part of that licensing move. Of course, this new tax levy will not be popular with the foreign operators, of course, and some Gibraltar operators have already suggested they will lodge an appeal with the European Union and claim that the new tax levy will be protectionist.
In its defence, the UK government states that the new licensing policy is a way of protecting players, which is currently difficult to do as the regulatory agencies can only monitor a tiny percentage of the online gambling that takes place in the UK.
Mobile is the future
It’s already possible to gamble on your mobile. All the main casino sites are increasing the number of mobile-friendly games they offer. Mobile play at 32Red.com is available on 18 games including slots, blackjack and roulette.
But this is only the beginning for the mobile gambling industry. It’s bound to become more and more common to place bets and gamble on your mobile – it’s simply a question of how quickly consumers take it up. There’s a definite trend towards people using their smartphones, iPads, and other tablets rather than their laptops and PCs for most of their online activities and there’s no reason why it should be any different for gaming and gambling. We can expect casinos to keep up with the developments in mobile technology in order to increase their market share of mobile gamers.