Last year’s budget brought a bit of a surprise to those in the gaming industry, as the UK Government put forth a free bets tax. This taxation would theoretically return a great deal to the government but operators could suffer.
What is the Tax?
There is already a bingo tax in place that has operators paying a Point of Consumption charge for their users. To add to this tax, the free bets tax will treat bonus funds like real money and the operator will be responsible for footing the bill. The government are hoping that this will contribute an additional £45 million to the economy in the first year of it being implemented.
Will it Affect our No Deposit Bonuses?
This is a hard question to answer, as operators seem a bit perplexed as to what they will do going forward. They can choose to pay the tax and hope that the players they bring in will be worth the bill, try to find a different way to reward players or remove the bonus entirely.
Ultimately, it will come down to what is most profitable for the company and what resonates best with users. Operators don’t want to be paying out more tax than they need to but they also need to keep users happy too.
We can expect a period of growth and change for these sites, as they basically do trial and error to make this tax feasible. An alternative to a bonus may be to let players have a go at no deposit bingo in a newbie room or to be given free spins instead, as these don’t have a set monetary value.
Are There any Other Potential Effects?
This tax could also make the bingo market more competitive, as this basically signifies another outgoing for operators. This could make it harder for new sites to launch, as well as affecting what they are able to offer their customers.
With no deposit bonuses making up a large part of what we expect from a new site, it’s hard to imagine a bingo world without them. We hope that there is another way to reward players coming into action if this is the case.
When Does it Come in?
The proposed tax would come in on the 1st of August 2017 and some operators are already getting ready for big changes. HMRC state that it shouldn’t have a significant impact on players or their payouts, it’s a change mostly geared towards operators. Whether that is the case remains to be seen but it’s certainly going to make a splash.
In 2017, operators will be battling against this and the effects of Brexit, both of which could have a knock on effect to users. They’ll be looking for new and inventive ways of staying afloat in what may turn out to be a difficult marketplace. For players, this may mean that they’re more willing to offer better deals or even experiment with something new, which could lead to an exciting time.