UK General Election Cancels Implimentation Of Free Bet Tax Bill

Politics is a little messy these days. So many unexpected things have happened in the last year that some of it is beyond belief. One of these many surprising things is our very own Prime Minister, Theresa May, announcing a general election which will happen in June, despite saying there won’t be one until 2020.

This announcement has thrown things out of kilter as it naturally would and sadly one of the side-effects is that some of the laws that were going to be passed through parliament have been delayed or outright dropped. One of these laws in the Finance Bill 2017 that allows players so alleviation over taxes regarding free bets. Could this be overturned after the election? We’ll have to wait a see.

The Finance Bill 2017

So what is this bill that was meant to be introduced and why is it so important to the free bet? Well, basically, this entire bill was introduced by the UK’s number one tax authority (HMRC) to close the loopholes that online operates could potentially exploit against their players when they offer a ‘free bet’. And for those who don’t know what a ‘free bet’ is, let’s just make one thing clear: it’s not free. A free bet means that any investment you make in a bet has to match that of the bookmakers, casino, what have you, so that you can get back some winnings.

The system has been around for a long time but has been met with criticism. Many claim that it tips things more in the casino’s favour, leaving the player out of pocket. Many players win under 50% of their original wager this way and, consequently, the government. This finance bill was set to change all that and was close to being debated over in the House of Lords. Unfortunately, the announcement of a snap general election has changed all that.

Turbulent Political Climate

house of commonsBecause all political parties involved would have to put all their energies into making a strong campaign for the election, this means less time and effort would be spent doing with MPs usually do — putting through laws. With this in mind, the Finance 2017 Bill is not the only victim to the mass “bill dropping” that has been going on because of this sudden election. But this isn’t to say that it, and other laws like it, have not been dropped forever.

In fact, Simon French of Cenkos Securities says if the Conservative Party were to win the election, the possibility of the bill being picked up again is very likely. Although, the bill will have been revised as there are apparently loopholes in the way it is written. Makes you wonder how many of the drop bills are being “revised” in light of this election.

French then went on to add that the bill will be a “major respite” for online operators as it could add an additional £5-10 million each year for the economy. He then went onto to say this changes nothing about the government’s view on gambling but it will continue to support operators regardless. Whether he means by the “government’s view” is a negative one, we cannot say.

Why This Matters

Those who are unaccustomed to politics and finance are probably wondering why they should be so concerned. Well, one of the loopholes that could dupe you out of money could have been closed thanks to this bill and now it has been delayed mostly thanks to this election. Do you want to earn more than fifty percent of what you put into a bet? Of course you do! It may be more money in the operator’s pocket in the short term, but long term there will be more money in your own.

Should you be worrying about? Maybe a little. Not overly, as there’s not much we can do about it right now until after the election. On the other hand, it’s something we do need to care about. With tighter restrictions, there are less likely to be corrupt operators willing to dupe players out of money and the less corruption there is gambling, the less likely it’ll be ruined. After all, we don’t want the government to call a ban on it.

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