UK Treasury mulls delaying FOBTs cut to October 2019

The Guardian newspaper has this morning reported that the UK government is set to delay implementing its mandatory £2 cut on FOBTs stakes until October 2019.

Since the Department for Digital, Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS) confirmation that FOBTs machine wagering would be drastically reduced from £100 to £2, the UK government has faced mounting criticism for delaying its directive.

Cross-party consensus has called for the government to implement its FOBTs reduction by no later than April 2019. Nevertheless, it has been well documented that the UK Treasury holds notable concerns on its likely budgetary shortfall, should the mandate be implemented.

In its report, The Guardian cites that Whitehall sources have revealed that the April 2019 target date has been removed from the Treasury’s pending 2019 budget policy.

Countering criticism, both DCMS and the Treasury have stated that their departments are committed to implementing the FOBTs cut, despite visible rifts in fiscal planning.

Irrespective of any delay in the implementation of the government’s FOBTs policy, the UK’s public and independent bookmakers are currently revising their betting shop operations, portfolios and propositions, choosing to prepare their businesses for upcoming negative impacts.

Industry leadership now awaits the publishing of the UK 2019 Budget scheduled for Monday 29 October, anticipating Chancellor Philip Hammond to confirm increased remote gambling duties (RGD).

UK licensed operators wish to avoid a further ‘nightmare scenario’, in which the government implements a +20% RGD tax charge, seeking to fill its £450 million FOBTs tax hole.

Chancellor Hammond’s anticipated RGD increase would represent the online gambling’s third tax charge in four years, following point-of-consumption (POC-2014) and Industry Free-Play taxes (2016).

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