Treasury urged to see bigger picture

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The Campaign for Fairer Gambling which has been at the forefront of the political lobbying campaign to reduce the maximum stake on FOBTs to £2 a spin, has urged the Treasury to take into account the impact of government policy on the economy as a whole, and the subsequent revenue impact, rather than the tax derived from a specific sector in isolation.


The pressure group has quoted research by Landman Economics that found for every £1 billion lost on FOBTs, a net of 16,500 jobs are lost in the wider economy due to the machines being a labour unintensive form of consumer spending. If the stake is reduced to £2 a spin, a proportion of FOBT revenue will switch to over the counter betting, a less harmful and more labour intensive activity.

An article, written by the Campaign For Fairer Gambling and which appeared in Politics Home, argued: “FOBTs are a job destroyer both within and outside the betting industry, while the bookmakers pressure their staff to push customers in their shops online, where the operators pay 15% “point of consumption” tax, which applies to where the consumer is rather than the offshore operator. There are rumours that the Treasury will seek to recoup any gambling related revenue it loses out on from a FOBT clampdown by raising duty on online gambling. Analysts Goodbody estimate the shortfall to Treasury from gambling taxes will be about £194m if there’s no transfer to other gambling activities, and this could be made up by increasing online gambling point of consumption tax from 15% to 19%.”

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