The United Kingdom was one of the first countries to legalise, license and regulate the online casino and betting industry and is one of the world’s leading online gambling markets. Recent times however have seen discussions of a proposed new law regarding the taxation of these operations which will come into effect in December of 2014.
GamblingData, a leading research firm recently published figures on how much the British Treasury stands to collect in 2015 after a full year of operation and the figures are astounding.
GamblingData’s calculations are based on the projected value of the UK’s online gambling market being worth £2.74 billion by 2015, which is notably double that of the reported values of 2008. The current proposed taxation rate stands at 15% and while this is under debate, GamblingData applied this rate to their principle calculations. In addition the company has also projected rate of compliance at around 92.5%. Based on these calculations, the UK treasury will be receiving a whopping £385.7 million in tax on online gambling in a 2015, which is literally a landslide revenue. Should the tax rate of 20% be instituted then tax collections would increase to an unheard of sum of £514 million.
While the lawmakers’ debate, the UK online gambling industry is lobbying against the 15% tax rate, warning that this high rate would lead to larger incidences of non-compliance, they have further stated that 10% tax is the preferred rate to keep the industry functioning at an optimal level. It should be clarified that these figures are worked out on a Point of Consumption basis. GamblingData analysts have calculated that with a 10% tax rate and 100% market compliance, tax revenues of £274 million can be expected and have also indicated that in order for the Treasury to receive less than this figure, under a 15% POC tax rate, the rate of compliance would have to fall to 67%. The extent of a drop in compliance like this is highly unlikely and it will therefore be exceptionally difficult to convince lawmakers to lower the tax rate to the proposed 10%.
UK online gambling industry observers have expressed doubt on the projected worth of the market, arguing that imposing POC tax will increase the emerging trend of declining rates of online gambling operators as the increasing net gaming revenues are only likely to be moderate and may even decline which will affect viability and result in operators leaving the market. GamblingData does not however accept this argument, referencing the upcoming football World Cup in 2014, which in the past has always contributed to a significant surge in the UK’s sports betting market.
Head of content at GamblingData, Daniel Stone summarised in a recent statement “How the industry’s leaders and the UK Treasury negotiate the transition to the new tax regime could prove to be one of the defining moments for the online sector.“
Playtech is a world renowned online casino software provider that produces casino games like bingo, slots, blackjack and roulette for online casinos. An increased demand for these types of games has seen the software giant post better than expected results in the first half of 2012 with a 64% increase in earnings.
According to the group’s CEO Mor Weizer, Playtech has seen a good performance across the board in its bingo, casino and mobile sports betting platform Mobenga. He further stated that mobile gambling is becoming on the fastest growing segments within the industry and that social gaming was becoming increasingly appealing, especially due to the fact that Facebook recently began to allow its users to play for money on their platform. According to Weizer, the convergence between real money gambling and social media is almost inevitable.
Playtech recently reported adjusted earning prior to tax deductions, interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of a massive 91.2 million Euros for the first half of 2012 on revenue which more than doubled to 154 million Euros.
Weizer also stated that the organisation has seen a strong start to the third quarter which is traditionally a quieter period due to the fact that is summer in the Northern hemisphere and many gamblers are away from their PC’s and out enjoying the summer months. Nevertheless, daily revenues are up over 25% in comparison to the same period last year.
Group share prices have also increased by 4.6% to a three month of high of 390 pence. Analysist believe that the group will see a rise in their expected market consensus for the full year to rise above the estimated 165 million mark. Nick Batram at broker Peel Hunt stated that the results were slightly ahead of expectations and said that “With a strong start to Q3, the risks to forecasts look firmly on the upside.”
With strong results like this, online gamblers will be sure to continue to enjoy Playtech powered online casino games and also perhaps see a few new and exciting developments in the years to come as a portion of profits are re-invested into software development.
If British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has his way UK based online gambling fans will be provided with the fastest internet in Europe in the near future.
In a meeting held at Silicon Roundabout Hunt revealed that he aimed to make truly high speed broadband internet available to over 90% of the UK by the year 2015 in order to ensure better efficiency and increased business profitability across the board.
He stated that in order to be the best you need to be the fastest and that it was his aim to ensure that the UK have the fastest broadband of any major European Country. He further stated that getting the “plumbing” right for the digital economy would not just benefit consumers but also creative and digital industries who rely on high speed networks in order to develop and export products as well as maximize profits.
According to The Guardian newspaper, Hunt’s commitment apparently follows a House of Lords Report on the national broadband strategy that was published in July 2012 and the published results from Freelancer.co.uk’s study which indicated that more than half of all executives from 1500 internet dependent organizations believed that poor quality internet had adversely affected their business. Findings also showed that 65% of executives believe that a rural-urban divide exists with remote areas being unable to take advantage of new business opportunities as a result of lower broadband speeds.
According to technology company Akamai’s quarterly speed league table, Britain is currently ranked 15th in Europe when it comes to internet speed behind countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany.
The British Government is now striving to achieve coverage and superfast internet speed (24Mb per second or more) in 90% of the country in the next 3 years with the remaining 10% running on no less than 2Mb per second lines.
The House of Lords communications committee on the other hand has urged ministers to focus instead on building the appropriate technologies and well as encouraging the provision of fibre-optic lines to as many British homes as possible.
Either way, online casinos and British punters who enjoy playing the many online casino games will benefit greatly from these new developments.
In news of the bizarre, a US citizen accused of robbing an 81 year old woman at knifepoint outside a casino claims that he was sleepwalking at the time and has no recollection of the event.
Winston A Riley’s attorney has entered a “medical defence” claim for his client and stated that he told the judge and prosecutor that a 27 old, married man with no criminal record would not wake up one morning, drive across the state and decide to rob a woman at a casino that has full security as well as cameras. According to the man’s attorney Nicholas D’Amato, anyone that thinks about it rationally will see that it doesn’t make sense.
Riley was arrested after an elderly woman accused him of pulling a knife on her and demanding that she hand over her purse while in the elevator of the Mohegan Sun Casino in New London.
Riley claims that he was sleepwalking at the time of the incident and was suddenly “awakened” when the woman fled from the Elevator. According to Riley’s family, he has had issues with sleepwalking since he was a child but whether or not this will hold up in court is another story altogether.
His defence seems positive and admits that while it is the first time they have encountered such a case, it is a legitimate medical condition. The arresting police department on the other hand are not so convinced claiming that Riley confessed to the crime shortly after his arrest and stated that he just wanted money. This claim is of course being contested. Interestingly though, the police report filed after the incident notes that Riley was unable to recall why he had attempted to rob the woman and said he became scared and ran after she resisted him.
The case is still on-going at present, but this is just story that goes to show that online casinos are so much safer than land based ones which are evidently home to even sleep walking criminals.
Social Media has become a way of life and of doing business. It was therefore only obvious that social media and other online pursuits like online gambling and social gaming would converge at some point.
In recent months many large online gambling operators have announced substantial investments in social gaming with Bwin.Party, a listed company and largest online gambling operator in Europe at the forefront, followed by online casino software giant Playtech who has also expressed interest in expanding into the social gaming arena.
Likewise social gaming giants like Zynga is reportedly keen on merging social networking and gambling and has employed the services of well-known lobbyists Jeffrey Peck and Justin McCarthy to assist in influencing the legalisation and regulation of online casinos in the US.
In addition, leading social media platforms have also showed interest in diverging into offering both online gaming for money as well as online gambling offerings. So there is clearly interest from all parties concerned.
Given these new developments, the UK Gambling Commission is also paying attention to the subject and is monitoring the social media space in order to ascertain the impact that social gaming will have on gambling licensing. According to John Travers of the UK Gambling Commission, social gaming on social media platforms like Facebook is blurring the boundaries between gaming and gambling for real money and this is of concern to the UK government. Travers said that the organisation felt that social gaming has already crossed the line but stated that the key question was whether or not it could be defined as Gambling.
By definition, social gaming takes place with virtual money offered as prizes which bypasses the legal definition of gambling for real money, and has meant that it has avoided the attention of regulators both in the United States as well as the United Kingdom. The reality however is that players purchase the virtual currency with real money and can withdraw points in real life. There are also unconfirmed reports that through some channels players can trade virtual money for real money. What’s more is that because online gaming sites are not restricted by regulations like online gambling sites are, players as young as 13 years old are able to access and utilise these types of sites, often without their parents’ knowledge.
Only time will tell if online gaming for real money is re-classified as online gambling and will then become subject to the same regulatory rules and regulations governed by the UK Gambling commission.
What began as a simple husband and wife lottery win has become an embittered, drawn out and complicated legal battle between business partners which saw a British Columbia court refusing to make summary judgement and referring the case for a full trial.
Four years ago the Canadian lottery winner Maria Linsenmeier was given a $20 bill by her husband to purchase a lottery ticket in Surrey, BC. The ticket was a lucky one and won the couple a whopping $12.6 million Canadian dollars.
The substantial win attracted the attention of Maria Ganguin, Linsenmeier’s now former business partner at the time who claimed that when business was good they regularly purchased lottery tickets using company funds with the agreement that any winnings would be shared.
Under this agreement Ganguin purported that she was entitled to half of the massive win, a claim which Linsenmeier vehemently resisted, insisting that the buy-in came from her spouse rather than from any cash of the jointly owned organisation.
According to her claim Ganguin became suspicious when she read a newspaper article which reported that Linsenmeier had purchased the ticket at an outlet along her catering route.
The legal battle reached the British Columbia Supreme Court this week and saw Linsenmeier and her husband requesting a summary trial to resolve the case quickly based on sworn statements. However Justice Trevor Armstrong ruled that in spite of the lack of evidence to support Ganguin’s claim to half of the fortune, she should be allowed to test Linsenmeier’s credibility at a full trial.
The case is now awaiting its trial date in what will surely be a very interesting battle. We’ll keep you up-to-date on the developments.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will be celebrated in the United Kingdom from the 2nd until the 5th of June and marks 60 years of the Queen’s reign.
This occasion will be packed with festivities across the country and the bank holidays, celebrations and events are highly anticipated by most. As always the sports books like William Hill are getting in on the Royal action and offering novelty bets on a variety of events surrounding this occasion.
With a short visit to the sports book you’ll find the expected betting options like the colour of Kate’s Thames Pageant Dress and the colour of the Queen’s Epsom Derby hat, but what is quite disturbing though is that some of the betting options are not altogether savoury and even hold a slightly sinister feel. For example there are options to bet on many of the events being rained out or that the Queen will be unable to light the beacon on June 4th.
Call us old fashioned but these seem to be a little sinister and in our opinion do call into question the morality of sports books encouraging punters to bet on quite nasty events taking place, which will in turn have many of them holding thumbs for rain and some kind of malfunction to take place for the historic lighting of the beacon.
These types of bets may seem funny, but it does make one reflect on the notion of the type of society we have become, that we find some kind of sport and satisfaction in unfortunate events that would mar the proceedings of what are supposed to be honourable and joyous occasions?
While these types of bets will probably always be around, it does make one pause to think and hope that out of respect for the people involved that most avoid placing wagers on them and discourage book makers from offering these types of odds in future.
There is always alot of hype in the media regarding gambling addiction and problem gambling, and this has often been the reason that many US politicians have used for not legalising online gambling when it is quite obvious that they are more concerned about lost tax dollars to offshore based operations.
Nevertheless, many have asked the question, “Is gambling really an addiction? ” and it seems that Australian researchers have the answer. According to academic researchers at the University of Sydney’s Gambling Treatment Clinic gambling is not the addiction it has long been believed to be and what’s more they have a better treatment for it than ever before.
In a recent press release Dr Fadi Anjoul, Education and Training officer at the clinic who has worked with a treated so called “gambling addicts” for over 15 years stated that the idea of gambling addiction is widespread, but inaccurate. According to Dr Anjoul unlike drug and alcohol addiction with which gambling addiction is usually grouped, problem gamblers rarely display symptoms such as tolerance and withdrawal. Based on these facts, Dr Anjoul believes that gambling is better thought of as a misguided obsession rather than an addiction which means that those with problems are making habitual and poorly informed decisions rather than responding to a biological process that is beyond their control.
This distinct different holds important implications for treatment as badly informed decisions and behaviours can be modified with the help of cognitive therapy which enables those undergoing treatment to understand why they gamble, how they ended up in a problem gambling situation as well as how to alter their thinking towards their involvement in gambling.
After years of research, Dr Anjoul has developed an innovative method of cognitive therapy that has produced significantly improved results in comparison to traditional therapies rooted in disease and addiction models of gambling. Dr Anjoul believes that the reason for the difference in the success rate of his program in comparison to traditional therapies is due to the fact that traditional therapies focus on helping people to deal with their urges as they arise, leading to high relapse rates once therapy is terminated, but with his model people find that by the conclusion of treatment, gambling urges arise infrequently if at all.
Professor Alex Blaszczynski, head of the University’s School of Psychology and expert on problem gambling issues stated that the results achieved with the new cognitive therapy at the University’s Gambling Treatment Clinic were very exciting and although the program is in its infancy, better treatment outcomes and lower relapse rates than can be found anywhere else are very promising.
The psychology of gambling is a very fascinating subject, to read more here.
Barclay’s has recently announced that from the 28th of May 2012 Barclaycard will be increasing fees on cash withdrawals and will be imposing new charges on gambling while cash withdrawals made overseas will carry more favourable rates in future.
Once the new rates come into effect, customers withdrawing cash using their Barclaycard will incur a single fee even when making a withdrawal abroad. No interest will be charged on credit card withdrawals as long as payment are made by the due date as reflected on the most recent statement and no currency exchange fees will apply.
When it comes to the actual fees, debit card holders will incur a currency exchange fee of £2.99 plus a 2% cash machine fee (minimum £1.50, maximum £4.50) on each cash withdrawal.
Purchases made abroad with your Barclaycards will also see a currency exchange charge increase from 2.75% to 2.99% which adds £2.40 to the cost of every £1,000 spent.
When using your Barclaycard when gambling online there are currently no fees charged to players but from the 28th of May 2012 all wagers will be treated as cash withdrawals and a 2.99% fee will be levied. This means that gamblers will be facing an increase of 30% to a £10 bet or flutter on their favourite slot machine
According to Andrew Hagger of comparison site Money-net, the cheapest fees for cash withdrawal from credit cards are offered by Metro Bank and Halifax Clarity.
With these newly imposed fees, UK gamblers may wish to look at alternatives to using their credit cards such as the variety of e-wallets available when placing bets or playing at online casinos in future.