Ah, politics. We try not to go too deep into it but sometimes that's just not possible. Many of you may know that George Osborne, the UK Chancellor in charge of the UK's national budget, revealed his plans for his eighth budget on Wednesday. Part of that plan affects online gambling which, in the UK, is one of our top industries. Is this a good or a bad thing? Well, it depends where you stand.
The ‘Free Bet' Tax
So what is it that's affecting online gambling? Osborne said that it is a little something called the ‘Free Bet' tax. A free bet is basically the money a betting operator will dish out to you to match your bet.
This mostly happens with bookies more than casinos but there seems to be no specification about who has to pay it and who doesn't.
This motion will become law in August next year so they have a while until they have to start coughing up. However, from then on, they will have to contribute 15% of their general betting funds to the government. Quite a large amount, it would seem, but only time will tell if this makes an overall negative impact on the industry.
Does this affect me?
By the nature of this tax, it appears that only online betting operators will be affected by it. Players may feel little effect however it's difficult to tell as companies may find ways to not exactly avoid paying it but find ways to pay less. That means you might be restricted on how much you can get back on your bet.
In spite of all this, the move has met with a lot of controversy. They have created this law yet Osborne claimed that the government won't be making any changes to any current laws or regulations around other areas in the gambling sector, especially those concerning FOBTs (fixed-odd betting machines).
These machines have been heavily criticised for causing addiction with betting limits up to £100 a spin and many believe it's the governments job to cut it down to just £2 a go.
We'll have to see if the government won't change its position on FOTBs but in the mean time this ‘Free Bet' tax will be something to focus on.