Amounts of gross gaming yield charged to gaming duty

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 16th June 2020.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

Clause 88 increases the thresholds for the gross gaming yield bands for gaming duty in line with inflation. This is a very small change, which is assumed by public finances.

Gaming duty is a banded tax paid by casinos in the UK, with marginal tax rates varying between 15% and 50%. Public finances assume that the bands are uprated with inflation each year to prevent fiscal drag. Without an annual uprating, over time, casinos would pay gaming duty at higher rates, so the change made by clause 88 uprates the bands of gaming duty in line with inflation. That is expected by the industry and assumed in public finances. Rates of gaming duty will remain unchanged. The change will take effect for accounting periods starting on or after 1 April 2020. I therefore commend the clause to the Committee.

Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

We have heard representations from the chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, Michael Dugher, who will be known to many hon. Members across the House. The council is calling for reform of business rates and casino taxation. In the light of its representation, which, unsurprisingly, makes the industry case, and reflecting on some of our earlier conversations about alcohol duties, tobacco and smoking, what plans does the Treasury have, if any, to look at reform of gambling taxation generally and at the specific reforms Mr Dugher is calling for of business rates and casino taxation?

We have also heard strong representations from hon. Members across the House, such as my hon. Friend Carolyn Harris and Sir Iain Duncan Smith, about their work to highlight the impact that gambling has on people’s lives. Irresponsible gambling blights people’s lives. In the light of our conversation this morning about the positive role that Treasury decisions can play in promoting good public health outcomes, is the Treasury minded to look at those issues in the round as part of a wider review of the gaming duty and gambling taxation more generally?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

The answer is to look at what the duty is designed to do. It is a change to gambling taxation; it is not related to the regulation of gambling activity, which, as we know, is the remit of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Government continue to monitor the effectiveness of existing gambling controls. As the December 2019 election manifesto set out, we intend to review the Gambling Act 2005. We will always consider the potential impact of tax changes at the same time.

We should remember that freezing the duty bands would have a small impact on public finances, while pushing smaller, generally regional, casinos into higher duty bands. The casino industry paid about £220 million in duty in the last financial year. The Government believe that the sector already makes a fair contribution to the public finances. I do not believe it is the small regional casinos that we would be looking to affect in terms of problem gambling.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 88 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.