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Where Online Gamblers Go Tax-Free

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Many countries do not impose taxes on sports bettors, casino goers, and lottery fans largely because they treat gambling as a form of entertainment rather than a professional activity.

Furthermore, recreational players cannot rely on gambling as a source of income since the odds are skewed against them so that they inevitably suffer losses in the long term.

There is no need to worry about paying taxes on your casino winnings if you reside in a tax-free jurisdiction like those listed below. Instead, the taxes are passed onto licensed gambling operators and as you shall see, the rates vary from one market to the next.

1. The United Kingdom

Casino, lottery, and sports wagering winnings are presently not taxable in the UK but this was not always the case.

The profits of British punters were subject to a 9% tax but, thankfully, the levy was abolished by now-former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2001.

Remote gambling businesses are taxed instead but gaming duty percentages vary based on the specific betting product on offer.

Online sportsbooks are subject to general betting duties (GBD), a levy that does not apply to on-track wagering activities.

The taxes are based on the online casino operators’ gross gaming revenue (GGR), which is the overall amount of stakes received minus the profits paid back to winning customers.

  • A 3% GBD for spread betting on financial instruments
  • A 15% GBD for tote and fixed-odds sports betting
  • A 10% GBD for other forms of spread wagering
  • A 15% GBD for commissions collected by UK-licensed sports betting exchanges
  • 21% of the GGR of remote casino operators. This is an increase of six percentage points from the previous 15% rate. The new tax rates came into effect in April 2019.

UKGC licensees are subject to taxes regardless of whether they are based outside or within the country. The tax percentages above apply only to the gross revenue generated from gamblers in the UK.

2. Canada

The gambling industry in the Great White North is regulated at a federal and provincial level. The precise regulatory frameworks vary across different provinces and so do the tax rates for licensed gambling operators at a provincial level.

Licensees are additionally subject to a 28% federal tax on their revenue. Casual players are fully exempt from paying taxes. Professional gamblers are taxed when gambling is their main source of income.

3. Australia

Both professional and recreational gamblers Down Under are exempt from paying taxes on their winnings. We cannot say the same about licensed remote gambling businesses, whose revenue is taxed on a point-of-consumption basis. The levies for remote betting companies are again state-specific.

  • 15% for operators licensed in Queensland, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, and Western Australia
  • 8% for companies licensed in Victoria
  • 10% for remote betting businesses accepting wagers from New South Wales residents

The tax rates above are only applicable to online sportsbooks licensed in Oz. Remote casino gambling remains illegal for the time being under the provisions of the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, along with the following services:

  • Remote in-play sports wagering
  • Wagering on the results of lottery draws
  • Providing remote sports wagering without holding a valid Aussie license

4. Sweden

Swedes have been enjoying access to legal online gambling since 2002 but the entire sector was initially subject to the monopoly of the state-owned Svenska Spel.

The Nordic country opened the local market to foreign competition at the beginning of 2019 when a new gambling act came into effect.

Foreign operators looking to penetrate the local market must obtain licenses from the Swedish Gaming Authority (Spelinspektionen). Licensees incur the following fees and taxes.

  • A SEK400,000 (US$39,666) fee for a remote gambling license
  • A SEK400,000 (US$39,666) fee for a remote sports betting license
  • A SEK700,000 (US$69,416) fee for combined licenses (sports betting and casino gambling)
  • A SEK300,000 (US$29,750) fee for renewing any of the above-listed licenses
  • 18% tax rates levied on the gross gambling revenue of remote commercial gambling operators

Swedish gamblers can enjoy tax-free winnings only on condition they have accrued them at sites that carry Spelinspektionen’s stamp of approval. Swedes who gamble at offshore casinos and sportsbooks are liable for taxes on their profits. No other sanctions are imposed on locals who gamble at unlicensed websites.

5. South Africa

Winning recreational gamblers are exempt from taxation in most cases. Horse racing wagers are the only exception as they are subject to a 6% tax deducted from the profits as a value-added tax (VAT).

Sports betting is the only legal form of remote gambling here, and the country is yet to move forward with the legalization of online casino games, bingo, and poker.

The taxes on remote sportsbooks are province-specific. For example, the KwaZulu-Natal province taxes licensed fixed-odds betting operators at a rate of 6%.

6. Italy

Taxes are not imposed on the profits of sports bettors and casino gamblers residing in the Boot. However, iGaming businesses authorized to operate in Italy are subject to some of the highest taxes in the whole of Europe. You can see the rates below.

  • 25% of the GGR of online casino and bingo operators
  • 24% of the GGR of online fixed-odds sports betting operators
  • 20% of the GGR of landbased sportsbooks
  • 22% of the GGR generated from wagers on virtual sports

In 2022, the Italian government proposed a new 1% tax be levied on the betting turnover of licensed sportsbook operators. If approved, the new levy could cause a 10% to 20% decline in the operators’ revenue.

7. Denmark

Denmark is one of the highest-taxed countries in Europe, but gamblers themselves get to enjoy tax-free winnings. The provision of all legal forms of gambling is subject to the following levies under the Danish Gambling Duties Act.

  • 28% of the GGR for online casinos
  • 28% of the GGR of fixed-odds betting operators and online betting exchanges
  • 45% of the GGR for brick-and-mortar casinos in addition to 30% for GGR that surpasses DKK4.3 million (US$602,592)
  • 41% of the GGR from gambling machines and arcades located outside casinos, for example, in restaurants and bars
  • 8% of the GGR from horse racing bets on local racetracks

The above taxes are deducted on a monthly basis. In addition to these rates, authorized gambling businesses must pay licensing fees annually.

Similarly to Swedish gamblers, Danes incur taxes on winnings they have generated at offshore gambling sites that lack licenses from the local regulator Spillemyndigheden (Danish Gambling Authority). Gambling profits are treated as personal income in such cases and are taxed at rates of up to 62%!

8. Belgium

Belgian gamblers should not worry about committing accidental tax evasion as local legislation does not impose any levies on winnings from lotteries and other chance-based games.

The tax rates enforced on gambling operators licensed by the Belgium Gaming Commission (Kansselcommissie) vary across the three regions of the country. Games of chance are taxed at 11% in Walloon, while the rates jump to 15% in the Brussels and Flanders regions.

The percentages are deducted from the gambling operators’ turnover, which is the total amount of wagers they have collected within a given period.

Certain forms of gambling like betting on pigeon races and state-operated lotteries are exempt from taxation. The same goes for chance-based games organized for non-profit purposes.

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