Regular visitors to OnlineBingo.co.uk will have noticed that our no deposit bingo sites page underwent some big changes recently.
In recent weeks, multiple operators have removed no deposit bonuses from their sites, including various Cozy Games brands, Welcome Bingo and Bingo Stars.
Given that Cozy alone had at least fifty different sites offering no deposit bonuses, it’s quite a sizeable shift for the industry.
Why all the sudden changes? It is related to last year’s Budget announcement, and a set of changes to the UK’s Remote Gaming Duties.
Previously, free bets (like no deposit bonuses) were not subject to tax, until last year’s Budget announcement, which stated that Remote Gaming Duty was set to apply to free bets too.
That means operators who were offering no deposit bonuses were suddenly facing a sharp increase in tax. Those plans were due to be implemented on 1st August 2017, although the recent general election and hung parliament delayed them.
However, it is thought that the government may backdate this Duty, and as such, operators have begun removing free bets to prevent being hit by a huge tax bill.
What does this mean for the future of no deposit bonuses? It’s unclear right now, but it’s likely that we will see more operators ditching the bonus or replacing it.
Cozy have started replacing their bonuses with “free bingo halls”, which will allow new registered players the opportunity to win bingo bonuses after signing up. Most operators are likely to follow suit with similar offers and deals.
If you’re a fan of a no deposit bonus, there’s no need to panic just yet. Larger operators (BGO Bingo or Paddy Power Casino for example) are likely to still offer no deposit bonuses for the foreseeable future, as their revenues will allow them to handle the tax payments better.
With much still to be decided or confirmed about the “free bet tax”, more changes are coming, and more operators will opt to remove no deposit bonuses to protect against a huge tax bill.
Stay tuned to OnlineBingo.co.uk for all the latest on the free bet tax, and how it will continue to shape the industry.
Sam Coleman has worked in the gaming industry for over eight years. He is responsible for reviewing the latest online bingo and casino sites as well as breaking industry news. Sam also works as a copywriter for Visit Britain.
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