Did you know that your gambling winnings in the UK are always yours, 100% tax-free? Because Americans are taxed for their winnings, many people mistakenly believe that they will be taxed on their gambling winnings too, as they would be taxed on any other transactions.
This used to be the case, but the practice of UK gambling tax has since been discontinued. Gamblers in the UK don't need to report their winnings, which also means they don't need to pay a single penny to the taxman.
So where does the UK government get their money? The answer is simple: they apply the tax to the operators rather than to the players.
Casino operators are required by law to declare their profits and pay 15% of their gross profit into the public purse. The primary goal of casino operators is to make money, so of course, they try to find ways to get around this law.
But this hasn't always been the case. Up until 2002, players had to pay a tax whenever they placed a bet. This law was removed in 2002 in order to keep the UK gaming industry competitive.
The casino operators were not too happy about the change, but it was great news for UK-based gamers. They no longer had to worry about the taxman taking a cut from their winnings.
Is the tax here to stay?
It's very unlikely that the UK approach to gambling taxation will be changed anytime soon. In the next year, you can expect things to continue to operate more or less the same as it does now.
As a player, you really don't have much to worry about; the chance of players being taxed again is fairly low. If there are in fact changes to the gambling laws, they will almost certainly affect the operators rather than players.
It's not likely that we will ever go back to a system in which gamblers are taxed. This is because of how the UK taxation system is now structured. If the tax were levied against players again, the players could actually claim allowances for their losses.
Since this would almost certainly result in a net loss for the government, there isn't much risk that they will return to the old system. You will likely continue to enjoy tax-free gaming for years to come.
Can operators avoid the tax?
Up until recently, it was fairly straightforward to avoid paying the 15% tax. You could simply set up your online casino in another country that offers a more favourable tax rate.
This is the reason why you often see casinos operating out of tiny countries. Malta and Gibraltar are two of the most popular destinations for casino operators. If you set up an online casino company in Malta or Gibraltar, you would have to pay those governments significantly less tax than if you operated out of the UK.
Unfortunately for the casino operators, this loophole has now been closed by the UK government. Operators are now subject to a so-called "Point of Consumption Tax".
What this basically means is that casino operators must pay the taxes that apply to the country from which the customer is playing in. This means casinos based in Malta or Gibraltar will still have to pay the 15% tax if the player is based in the UK.
Given that the Point of Consumption Tax is eating into casino operators' profit margins and forcing them to raise their prices, you can expect to see some more creative methods of avoiding tax starting to surface. The casino gaming industry has always been innovative when it comes to paying as little tax as possible, and there is no reason you should expect that to change.
In the meantime, if you're keen on discovering new online casinos or reading more about gambling tax laws, visit CasinoGuide.co.uk.