Betting Tax Reform on Table in Great Britain

British racing will gain a major funding boost if Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown announces a predicted reform of betting taxes in his March budget. Some estimate handle could double.

Brown's advisers have been considering a profits tax for bookmakers rather than the current off-course tax of 6.75% on stakes. In November, the government announced that it would consider all the issues behind a switch in the tax base, including a reduction intended to encourage British bookmakers who have gone offshore to return.

Said Stephen Timms, financial secretary to the Treasury: "We are prepared to place a bet on the skills and the abilities of the UK betting industry to win in a worldwide marketplace and to achieve long-term growth. Some of the options we are considering would involve a reduction in deductions and, in the short term, this could mean government would forego a considerable sum in revenue."