Isle of Man proposes simplified gambling duty bill

The final version expected to progress through the Parliament before the end of 2008

The Isle of Man Treasury Department has proposed to bring forward a Bill to update and simplify the law dealing with the excise duty aspects of gambling law. The Bill will replace the existing Betting Act 1970.

The Bill would enable a single Act to deal with both online gambling and on and off-course betting and pool betting. It is not intended to deal with the regulatory aspects of the social law governing gambling (including licensing, under-age and problem gambling) or with any anti-money laundering aspects.

Whilst some betting shops remain on the Island, most of the gambling business is now online with various types of gambling products now offered such as casino games, bingo and poker. The industry has developed into a multimedia international operation, with regulatory control of the sector of the Island recognized by the UK as one of only 3 non-EEA territories whose licensed operators are permitted to do business in the UK as if licensed and regulated there.

The Bill will help make an effective exchange of information possible between gambling bodies in the Island, and allow the Treasury to be able to exchange information with off-Island agencies to combat any unlawful activity affecting the gambling industry.

The Treasury undertook a consultation exercise with the industry in the Island in 2002. However, given the changes anticipated in the industry the plan to produce a Betting Duties Bill was put on hold. The Treasury believes the time is now right for putting such a framework in place, which will create a well-regulated jurisdiction for gambling operators, ensuring that the revenue is protected and compliance costs minimized.

Included in the Bill is a proposal to repeal and replace Section 5 of OGRA (Online Gambling Regulation Act 2001) and provide for a duty of excise called ’Gambling Duty’ to be administered by Customs and Excise. The duty would be charged on the gross yield of gambling activities.

A consultation document outlining the proposed Gambling Duties has been sent out to all licensed gambling operators in the Island, relevant Governmental Departments and agencies, HM Revenue and Customs, HM Treasury, the DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport), and the Gambling Commission.

Comments on the proposals are to be submitted no later than June 20th 2008. The Treasury expects a bill to be prepared during the latter half of 2008, and released for industry comment at that time. The final version will then be expected to progress through Tynwald (The Parliament of the Isle of Man) before the end of the year.