Stephen Hignett, Tax Partner, CMS

Alistair Darling did not mention gambling taxes at all in his Budget speech, although he did mention the Government’s plan to sell the Tote.   On the Tote, following Gerry Sutcliffe’s recent announcement of the intention to allow the Tote to offer pool betting on sports other than horse racing, the Chancellor has announced that it is the (current) Government’s intention that the sale process will commence this summer and be concluded by Spring 2011.

Although one generally finds a surprise or two in the small print of the Treasury’s press releases, this year would appear to be an exception.

There is no word of a new gross profits tax for FOBTs.   As a result, FOBTs will remain within the scope of VAT and amusement machine licence duty (“AMLD”) will continue into 2010/11 with rates being increased in line with inflation (with effect from 4pm on 26 March 2010).

As is customary, the bands of gaming duty (paid by “bricks and mortar” gaming operators) are to be increased in line with inflation (for accounting periods starting on or after 1 April 2010).

The reduction in bingo duty (from 22% to 20%) announced in the 2009 PBR comes into effect for periods commencing on or after 29 March 2010.

All other rates stay as they are.

A final item of note is that the National Lottery Commission and the Gambling Commission are to be merged, subject to consultation.

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