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NEWS 27 April 2017

UK Government scraps free play tax in Finance Bill ahead of the general election

By Nicole Abbott
The UK Government has decided to remove a tax on free plays and bonuses from the Finance Bill 2017.

Last year Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced that the new Finance Bill would instigate new rules regarding free bets, free plays and discounted betting. The changes were expected to come into effect from accounting periods that begin on or after 1 August 2017.

However, the government opted to drop the new laws from the Finance Bill, as it did not believe that the plans would receive adequate scrutiny prior to parliament being dissolved on 3 May ahead of the general election.

Simon French of Cenkos Securities has stated that should the Conservative party be re-elected on 8 June, it is expected that the removed regulations will be introduced into an amended Finance Act.

French added that Cenkos predicts some “financial respite” for major operators that anticipated a £5m to £10m hit this year due to the pre-mitigation law change.

French says: “We do not believe this signals any change in stance in government's view towards the gambling industry and we continue to favour online-focused operators with proprietary technology and geographic diversity,”

“However, we will not change forecasts at this stage but this will provide support to companies' meeting market expectations for 2017 as the original plan for August implementation appears unlikely to be met.”

RELATED TAGS: Legal & Regulatory | Industry
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