Exchequer confirms GB remote gaming tax rise for 2019

The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a rise in British online betting tax to 21% in October 2019 to offset the loss expected from the cut in maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

Delivering the Budget for the year ahead, Philip Hammond spoke in parliament and said the tax will increase from 15%.

He said: “I can confirm that we will increase Remote Gaming Duty on online games of chance, to 21% in order to fund the loss of revenue as we reduce FOBT stakes to £2.”

A delay on the drop in maximum stakes was rumoured last week, but neither confirmed nor denied in the Budget.

The rise to remote gaming tax was expected in the Budget, but some industry experts have said the extent to which it was increased may force operators out of the UK market.

Richard Williams, Licensing, Gaming and Regulatory Partner at London law firm Joelson, said: “Whilst there had been speculation in the press that the Chancellor would increase the rate of remote gaming duty (RGD) from 15%, the announcement that it will increase to 21% will come as a shock.

“Although a rate of 20% was unwelcome, it would have been manageable.

"Whilst this is only 1% higher than was widely expected, the increase to a figure of 21% may leave some operators questioning whether it is worth continuing to operate in Great Britain, given the current fiscal and regulatory environment.”