The Betting and Gaming Council has once again railed against the government’s economic plans, urging the Chancellor against using a proposed new gambling tax simplification measure. 

The BGC previously took aim at what it described as ‘a stealth tax’ on casinos as it failed to raise the sector’s bands alongside inflation. 

In the Autumn Statement, the Government confirmed it will consult on new proposals to bring remote betting into a single tax, replacing the current three-tax structure.

Currently, general betting duty and pool betting duty are set at 15 per cent of operator profits, but remote gaming duty, levied on games of chance such as online casino, is set at 21 per cent.

The BGC has underlined the widespread impact an increase could have, with it limiting customer experience and the industry’s significant sponsorship opportunities on sport. 

A BGC update stated: “The tax threat comes as revenues are already being stretched by so-called affordability checks on customers, plans to replace the current voluntary levy with a new statutory levy to fund Research, Education and Treatment to tackle gambling-related harm and spiraling costs for betting operators to support horse racing.”

The proposed new tax simplification plan comes soon after the Government’s White Paper, published in April, which included measures that will cost online operators in excess of £895m in Gross Gambling Yield. 

Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, added: “Any further new tax rises could be a hammer blow for horse racing’s finances, which are already threatened thanks to measures proposed by the Government in the recent white paper. 

“This is a sport which relies heavily on betting operators for its success and yet the Government appears determined to draft in measures which shrink the industry with huge ramifications for other sectors, like horse racing.

“What’s worse, the Treasury didn’t bother to consult or even inform DCMS, which is the department responsible for betting and racing. It seems they are high on tax but low on joined-up government. 

“There are genuine fears that any so-called simplification of the current tax structure will be nothing more than a Trojan Horse to further raise taxes on businesses. 

“This has the potential to risk jobs and investment, and undermine the competitiveness of British horse racing on the global stage, placing its rich history and heritage in peril.

“We were promised an Autumn Statement that would deliver growth – the only thing growing is the list of worries for the betting and horse racing industries.”