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Poker Potentially to be Taxed Heavier in the United Kingdom

The UK government, likely in an effort to raise more revenues, has started to look at ways to get more out of the online gambling industry. According to proposals, the UK is considering taxing all online gambling sites at a higher rate for doing business within their borders.

The new rules, if adopted, would see the UK essentially place a levy on online gambling operators that are based offshore but would like to do business in the country. This could mean actually installing poker operations within UK lands or even something as simple as advertising within the United Kingdom to citizens of the country.

This would mean that sites like William Hill that left the UK for tax havens in areas like Gibraltar and Malta would not be able to get out of paying taxes to the UK government if they wanted to do business within those borders.

Another requirement, more for security than for revenue, would see those same companies share information with the government about things like suspicious betting patterns. This would give the authorities a hand in detecting problem gamblers and cracking down on collusion, something that up until now has solely been up to the discretion of the online poker sites in question.

Why the UK is doing this now probably has more to do with the fact that regulation and taxation of online gambling is something that is being done elsewhere across the European Union. Italy, for example, created a system of taxation in 2009 that brought in more revenues and it is probable that if the new UK laws come into effect a similar rise in tax money will accompany those rules.

Even though the UK government defends these actions as being in the best interests of their citizens, there are those that disagree. Vicky Coren, a member of Team Poker Stars, wrote an article in The Guardian Newspaper recently where she attacked the idea of increased taxation on land-based poker rooms within the UK. Citing the government’s plans at the moment to leave gambling fruit machines largely untouched within this new framework, she made the point that the policy was introducing a double-standard.