An economic analysis of the options for taxing betting

Abstract

This study considers various alternatives to replace the general betting duty (GBD) and analyses the impact of these proposed changes on a wide variety of stakeholders. The key options are a Gross Profit Tax (GPT) and a Place of Consumption Tax (POC). We assess these alternatives using the criteria of equity, economic efficiency, and sustainability of the tax regime to changes in the external environment. We incorporate the latest international theoretical and empirical evidence into our analysis. Our theoretical analysis generates the following set of predictions: • Price Elasticities for Gambling Activities Should be Increasing Over Time • Reducing Gambling Taxes Should Reduce The Threat of the Shadow Economy and Other Forms of Tax Avoidance • Reducing Gambling Taxes Will Have Implications For Other Industries • Profit Margins Are Likely to Decline, Which Implies That a Turnover Tax Would Generate a More Stable Flow of Tax Revenue Than a GPT • However, on Equity and Economic Efficiency Grounds, a GPT is Superior to a Turnover Tax A review of the domestic and international evidence, and our own econometric analysis, yields the following key stylised facts and predictions: • A Substantial Rise in the Share of Internet Gambling in Total Gambling Turnover • It is Likely That Internet Gambling Complements Existing Forms of Gambling • Internet Gamblers Tend to be Younger and More Affluent Than Traditional Gamblers • The Long Run Elasticity of Betting Turnover to Deductions is Approximately -1.09, a Value that is Somewhat Higher than Previous Estimates • Price Elasticity Has Increased Substantially Over the Last 10 years and Is Likely to Increase in the Future • The UK Betting Industry is Facing Increasing Competition • Betting Turnover Subject to GBD is Declining at an Annual Rate in the region of 3%. • Change in Tax Rates on GBD Will Also Have Implications for Tax Revenue in Other Gambling Sectors • Betting Turnover is Strongly Positively Correlated With Real Earnings • Spread Betting Has Unique Characteristics and thus There is a Case for Considering it Separately for Tax Purposes.

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