The impact on COVID-19 in the UK hasn’t spared the gambling industry, with HM Revenue & Customs receiving an 8% year-on-year drop in betting and gaming tax receipts.
Remote Gaming Duty (RGD) has accounted for almost a third of these, with 32% coming from these means.
So far, tax receipts for betting and gaming in the UK have totalled £1.34 billion.
Receipts from online betting up; land-based tax returns down
RGD’s contribution to tax receipts was 30% higher than at the same time in the previous tax year.
Predictably, land-based gambling has gone down. General Betting Duty (BGD) dropped to £265 million, which might be attributed to the three-month shutdown of live sporting events.
In July, £80 million was generated in GBD – according to analysis from UK Addiction and Treatment (UKAT). This was 50% lower than the same month in 2019, while September’s figures were 30% lower than in the same month last year.
Machine Game Duty also fell significantly. For the tax year-to-date, £147 million has been generated via these means. This is 46% lower than was the case at the same time last year.
“Unsurprising and expected”
Nuno Albuquerque, Head of Treatment at UKAT, had the following to say about these tax receipt findings.
“The figures in today’s report were, overall, unsurprising and expected.
“Of course income from Machine Game Duty and Bingo Duty would have taken a hit, as the places where people would have engaged with this type of activity were forced to close.
“People will deal with the coronavirus crisis in different ways. It’s important to remember that too much of anything can be detrimental, especially if it starts to negatively impact your day-to-day life.”
New COVID-19 lockdowns could further hit the land-based gambling industry
Over the weekend, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would go into a second national lockdown from 5th November. Lasting until 2nd December, all betting shops and casinos in the country will be forced to close again as a result.
GVC Holdings has predicted losses of £27 million due to the new temporary closures in England alone, with that number increasing further if Scotland and Wales choose a similar lockdown path. The company is also dealing with lockdown restrictions for its stores in Italy and Belgium, which have come into force in recent weeks. GVC believes that these will cause additional losses on top of its English operations.
In a statement, the operator said: “We are following government advice in each area of our operations and are enacting contingency plans to minimise the impact on the business.”