Gambling is a huge industry, so it won’t come as a surprise to most that most governments bring in huge amounts of gambling tax every year. Today, we’re going to break down exactly how much the UK receives in gambling tax every year, and how exactly these taxes are figured out. So, let’s first look at how much tax gambling companies pay individually.
From 1 October 2019, tax rates on gambling profits rose from 15% to 21%. Land-based casinos in the UK are taxed according to how much they earn, and rates can fluctuate between different games, sometimes being as high as 50% of the profits. Games like poker, roulette and blackjack, for instance, can be taxed as high as 50% or as low as 15%, and slots games range from as low as 5% up to 25%.
Gambling taxes aren’t all that simple, then. They can change a lot depending on the size of the company, the profits earned, and what kinds of games they offer. In general, the rate is 21% of overall profits for most gambling activities. This may increase further in the future, as the laws change and according to inflation. The UK gambling industry is worth about £14.3 billion per year, with varying levels of market share. On average, British people spend about £135 a year on gambling.
So, how much tax has the government been pulling in over the years? It’s been steadily increasing over the last decade, as online betting and gambling have become more widespread and popular, with betting platforms like FindBettingSites suggesting there are as many as 300 sites in the UK alone. In 2019/20, the UK government received £3.02 billion in gambling taxes, and as of September 2021, have received £2.83 billion, with projected end of year earnings exceeding the previous year.
Between 2001 and 2013, the gambling taxes received by the UK government were fairly consistent, usually landing between £1.4 and £1.6 billion pounds in taxes. At this time, there were still many widespread trust issues when it came to online gambling. Things were simply less secure, and so people were far more reluctant to spend money online. During the middle of the last decade, that changed, and there was a huge increase in yearly gambling tax earnings.
In 2012/13, the gambling industry paid £1.68 billion in taxes on its earnings. As I said, this was pretty standard for the last decade or so, if a little on the high side. The year after, in 2013/14, the industry paid a collective £2.1 billion in taxes on its earnings. Two years later, in 2015/16, the amount shot up again, to £2.67 billion, and has been steadily climbing ever since, hitting, as I said, over £3 billion in 2019/20.
What the figures clearly show is that gambling is becoming more and more popular, and this is in no small part thanks to the prevalence of online casinos and games. More and more people have access to these games from the comfort of their homes or even while on their commute to work. Betting is no longer relegated to the bookies, the races, or the casinos. It can be done anywhere, by anyone, and most importantly of all, these apps and sites explain clearly and succinctly how betting works. Where in the past people may understandably have felt intimidated by the complexity of certain types of betting, now it is easier and more inclusive than ever.
This accessibility is more than reflected in the tax revenue brought in by gambling in the UK in recent years, and we can only expect the trend will continue to move upwards.