The UK casino industry, a vital component of the tourism and hospitality sector, is facing significant challenges. Despite soaring costs and inflation, the Treasury has decided to maintain Gaming Duty Bands at their current levels, refusing to adjust for inflation. The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) is calling for a reevaluation, highlighting the industry’s importance in generating jobs and contributing to the economy.
Currently employing over 10,000 people and serving over 16 million customers annually, casinos make a substantial contribution of £300 million in taxes and an estimated £800 million in Gross Value Added. However, the industry has experienced closures and job losses due to the pandemic and economic headwinds. In the past 16 years, the number of UK casinos has decreased from 160 to 117, with four recent closures including the renowned Crockfords in Mayfair.
BGC CEO Michael Dugher expressed concern over the freeze on Gaming Duty Bands, labeling it a stealth tax that could harm recovery and hinder future growth. Removing the freeze would have provided a much-needed boost for the land-based casino sector.
Estimates suggest that the freeze will cost casinos £25 million over the next five years. BGC members, representing over 90% of the regulated betting and gaming industry in the UK, contribute £7.1 billion to the economy and support 110,000 jobs, generating £4.2 billion in tax revenue.
Dugher urged the government to reevaluate the decision, emphasizing that maintaining the status quo would be a missed opportunity for companies looking to create jobs and invest in the country. The BGC remains committed to collaborating with the government and regulators, aiming to deliver the White Paper. However, it stresses the importance of implementing changes that do not push customers towards the unregulated gambling black market, where betting numbers have doubled in recent years, reaching billions.
With 22.5 million adults in Great Britain engaging in various forms of betting each month, the industry finds encouragement in the low problem gambling rates of just 0.4% of the adult population in England, as reported by the NHS Health Survey.
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