GB RGD hike drives growth in gambling tax take for 2019-20
The increase in remote gaming duty (RGD) from April 2019 led to significant hike in tax paid by Great Britain’s gambling licensees paid for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2020, mitigating a decline in machine gaming duty (MGD).
As a result, total taxes paid by the gambling industry to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs rose 1.1% year-on-year to £3.02bn (€3.47bn/$3.80bn) for the 12-month period.
The biggest increase was seen for RGD, which rose 32.9% to £705.9m, after the rate was raised from 15% to 21% of gross revenue, from 1 April last year. Its contribution to betting duties paid by the industry has now more than doubled since its introduction in 2014.
This was introduced alongside a cut in maximum fixed odds betting terminal stakes to £2, which has led to the closure of hundreds of betting shops across Great Britain, and significant write-downs in operator asset values. The reduction in revenue from the machines was reflected in a 29.2% decline in MGD, to £509.7m.
Elsewhere, General Betting Duty, paid by operators offering fixed odds betting both in retail premises and online and set at 15% of gross revenue, declined 5.3% to £586.2m. For Pool Betting Duty, comprising 15% of revenue, was down marginally at £5.8m.
Gaming Duty, paid by land-based casinos, fell 4.0% to £213.4m, while bingo duty (10% of GGR) was down 7.9% at £30.8m.
Lottery Duty, comprising 12% of ticket and scratch card sales for UK National Lottery operator Camelot, increased to its highest ever rate, rising 13.4% to £967.7m, making it the largest single source of gambling tax in the country.
With money raised from gaming duty on the rise UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT) called on the government to reinvest more funds in the prevention of gaming dependency and addiction.
“For many gamers, a problem may never arise and they can enjoy gaming safely,” the addiction treatment provider’s chief executive Eytan Alexander said. “However, there are people who will be susceptible and vulnerable to the online gaming world and who will develop obsessive or harmful behaviour; unfortunately we’re treating more and more gamers every year.
“This is a health need that is constantly evolving yet it feels like our government stands still.They have a responsibility to use the eye-watering amount of tax levied by gaming sites to prevent and treat dependency, rather than cashing in on it.”