New budget outlines free bet tax for UK bingo sites

  • Updated
  • By Sam Coleman

Bingo in the budget

Starting next year, online bingo and casino operators will be required to pay a tax on their free bet offers.

UK Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the plans as part of the latest budget proposal. According to the plans, from August 1st 2017, the 15% General Betting Duty will be imposed on all free or discounted online bets.

This new policy brings online bingo and casino offers in line with sports betting. Sportsbook sites have been subject to the General Betting Duty since the plans were first imposed in 2014.

While exact details for the tax haven’t been laid out yet, the impact could be huge. Players won’t be paying the rate directly, but it will have an effect on the way sites are run.

Operators will likely stop offering huge deposit bonuses when the plans go live, as they will end up paying more in tax. In fact, it’s possible that we might see bonuses disappear completely.

It will be interesting to see how the industry adapts before the changes are put into action. Operators have plenty of time to tweak their offers to minimise the financial hit, although we might also see a renewed focus on new ideas and innovation.

The motion does need to be approved before it becomes law and further tweaks might be made before then. We’ll keep you updated with any changes or announcements that follow.