Short Guidebook on UK Gambling Taxes
Did you know a recent poll found that 31% of UK players struggle to understand complex gambling taxes and fees? Stay in the know with this straightforward guide to taxation on winnings and gameplay.
We’ll break down key taxes like remote gaming duty and what winnings thresholds trigger personal income obligations. With simple explanations of gambling-related taxes in the UK, you can budget smarter and ensure the house doesn’t take more than it should.
Let’s add you to the 69% who are taxation savvy. With this convenient guidebook, you’ll be a gambling tax pro in no time!
- British Gambling Laws
- A Timeline of the UK Gambling Tax
- Gambling-related Taxes
- Pro-Players Taxation System In The UK
- Abroad Gambling Taxes
- Taxes Paid By Casinos
- Gambling Taxes In The UK: Verdict
British Gambling Laws
UK gambling law has undergone considerable changes over the last 50 years, particularly in the previous two decades with the upturn of UK online casinos.
The Gambling Commission is the central authority that regulates, licences or assists betting operators, promotes safer betting practices and mediates disputes between bettors and casino owners. Online and brick-and-mortar casino betting, sports betting, horse racing, lotteries, and bingo companies are all under the supervision of The Gambling Commission and are legally allowed in the UK.
All gambling-related activities are overseen by the Gambling Commission and regulated by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS)
What can you do with a UKGC licence?
With a UKGC licence, gaming operators can provide a range of services for real money gaming, including horse racing, conventional sports, eSports, or owning poker casinos, bingo casinos, lotteries, blackjack bonus casinos, craps casinos, and slots sites.
The UK has a long history of sports betting, while the casino gaming industry started in the late 1960s and early 1970s and began expanding from 2005 onwards with the Gambling Act of 2005.
Since then, gambling has become a more safe pastime. But remember, you can legally gamble in the United Kingdom only if you are 18 or older.
A Timeline of the UK Gambling Tax
Taxes on gambling in the UK mostly affect operators as players are relieved from paying taxes on gambling winnings.
Regulation of sports betting, which constitutes gambling, can be traced back to the late 1920s with the Racecourse Betting Act of 1928, followed by the 1934 Betting and Lotteries Act.
British Gambling Taxes Before 2001
In 1947, the UK Parliament implemented the Pool Betting Duty and imposed a tax on football pools.
Then, in 1960, the UK Parliament Passed the Betting and Gaming Act, which went into effect on January 1, 1961, and established the National Lottery in the mid-1990s.
The UK also had a tax of 6.75% on sports wagers, which was substituted by a 15 per cent tax on gross earnings in 2001.
UK Gambling Taxes After The Gambling Act 2005
The current betting framework in the United Gambling was decided in 2005 with the Gambling Act of 2005. As part of the Act, the UK Gambling Commission was assigned as the main regulator of remote betting.
The Act also effectively made it legal for all residents of the UK aged 18 or older to participate in sports betting and games of chance. With the Gambling Act of 2005, players were still exempted from paying taxes on gambling winnings.
The Act was amended in 2014 and is now centred on ‘point-of-consumption’, i.e., the player, rather than ‘point-of-supply,’ i.e., the operator. The amendment required all online gaming operators, irrespective of their country of incorporation, to obtain a remote gaming licence from the UKGC and pay a Remote Gaming Duty of 15%, which was raised to 21% a few years later.
Even with this amendment, taxation rules applied only to operators, not players, who could still play at land-based and top online casinos without paying taxes on gambling winnings.
Casino Games That Are Not Subjected To Taxation In The UK
- National Lottery
- Sports betting
- Horse racing
- Online slots
- Scratch cards
Again, UK players, so long as they are 18 and based in the UK, can pocket all gambling winnings tax-free.
Whether you live in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, play sports or casino games and play online or on land, the law is the same – there are no taxes on gambling winnings.
This only applies to UK players, while operators are subject to various taxation duties, as we will see below.
Still, it is good to know some specific instances unrelated to gambling where you may have to pay tax.
An inheritance tax is levied when someone inherits an estate from someone who has passed away.
The UK inheritance tax is 40%, but only on inheritances valued over £325,000. You don’t pay any tax if the value is below £325K.
You will also not pay tax if you donate any money above the £325K to an amateur sports team or charity or leave it to your spouse or partner.
Investments in Real Estate
Non-corporate real-estate investors, such as property owners who collect rent, will likely have to pay a capital gains tax of 18% for residential property.
UK residents pay a capital gains tax on extremely large homes, an estate that is not their home, or if the individual has used their home to conduct official business.
Any gains accrued from interest on bank account savings may or may not be subject to taxation, depending on the rate.
UK residents can collect up to $5,000 before tax, depending on other factors, such as their salaries, pension, or other income.
If the payment is at least £17,570, then the person is not entitled to tax-free interest from savings of up to £5,000.
Pro-Players Taxation System In The UK
We’ve already established there are no taxes on gambling winnings if you are a casual player. But are your gambling earnings taxed if you become a professional gambler?
The answer is still no. The UK’s HM Revenue & Customs does not consider professional gambling a trade and therefore does not tax professionals on their gambling winnings.
Even though some will argue there is a difference between a casual and a professional gambler, as far as taxation goes, they are both the same in the eyes of the law.
Abroad Gambling Taxes
Whether you earn gains from gambling while in the UK or somewhere abroad, the law is the same, and so long as your winnings are paid out to a UK account, you won’t be taxed.
However, you might want to consider with a law expert whether you will be taxed if your money is transferred to an account where you are currently located that is not within the UK.
Taxes Paid By Casinos
While players are not taxed on their winnings, gambling providers are required to pay gaming, bingo, lottery, machine games, pool betting, and general betting duties.
For instance, the remote gaming duty is 21% of profits reported by online gaming operators.
The general betting duty for bookmakers is 15% on gross profits, while the gaming duty on the gross gaming yield for the first £2,686,000% is 15%, then 20% for the next £1,852,000, 30% for the next £3,243,000, and 40% for the next £6,845,000.
Gambling Taxes In The UK: Verdict
To wrap up, the answer to the question ‘Do you pay taxes on gambling winnings’ is no. UK players – casual players or professional gamblers – pay no taxes on winnings from poker, online slots, roulette, lottery, bingo, horse racing, and all other forms of gambling.
However, if you’re considering opening an online casino or a betting site, you might want to check the betting and remote gaming duties affecting gambling providers.
How much is the gaming tax in the UK?
There are no taxes on gambling winnings for UK players 18 or older.
Do I have to pay taxes on winnings? How much?
No. Whether you are a casual, habitual, amateur, or professional gambler, all winnings are tax-free.
Should I declare my gambling winnings?
No, UK players are not legally obligated to report their gains from gambling on their tax returns.
Should I declare my gambling losses?
The same as with gambling winnings, players are not required to declare gambling losses.
Have British Players Ever Paid Taxes On Casino Winnings?
We couldn’t find a record of British punters and gamblers ever paying gambling taxes.
Do British professional gamblers have to pay taxes?
No, casual and professional gamblers alike are exempt from paying gambling taxes.
What happens if you win big in Vegas as a British player?
The IRS requires Las Vegas casinos to charge a 30% withholding tax on gambling winnings for all visitors from abroad, including UK players.
What happens if you forget to report gambling winnings in the UK?
Since winnings from sports betting and gambling are not considered income, there are no legal penalties for failing to report the winnings.