The latest budget from UK chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond has increased tax on online casino games in a bid to cover the £1.15bn lost by the treasury in capping FOBTs.
However, gambling wasn’t the only so-called ‘sin’ sector to be hit by the government’s drive to end austerity across public services, with alcohol and tobacco also facing duty increases.
“From October next year, I can confirm that we will increase Remote Gaming Duty on online games of chance to 21 percent, in order to fund the loss of revenue as we reduce FOBT stakes to £2,” said Hammond.
“The tobacco duty escalator will continue to rise at inflation plus two percent [and] so-called white ciders will be taxed at a new higher rate,” with consumers also facing “increases on wine.”
The announcement came as the Conservatives pushed to deliver a positive economic outlook ahead of the March Brexit deadline, with £500m allocated to the Housing Infrastructure Fund and £20.5bn for what Hammond called – seemingly contrary to his own party’s opinion – “our precious NHS.”
The increase in duty for online operators is predicted to raise £1.25bn for the government over the next five years.