Turf accountants watch punters flight to offshore havens

24 Feb 00
Figures released this week by Customs and Excise show that the flight of serious punters to low-tax offshore betting operations is beginning to bite into government revenues.

25 February 2000

According to Customs, the amount wagered away from racecourses in 1999 was up by 2.9% to £7.29m. But since May, when leading bookmaker Victor Chandler began the offshore trend by setting up in Gibraltar, the underlying trend is of reduced growth.

The government is under pressure to cut its 6.75% tax deduction on all off-course bets as the industry fears for the future of betting shops. Typically, punters betting offshore are charged 3% 'administration' fees, but Internet betting firms are leading the way towards a no-tax norm.

This week, John Brown, chairman of William Hill, the second biggest bookmaker in the UK, called for a tax on bookmakers' profits to be substituted for the current betting tax.


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