Saturday, March 24, 2018

Golden Entertainment Incorporated inks estate-wide Synkros deal

World Casino News
Golden Entertainment Incorporated inks estate-wide Synkros deal

American casino operator Golden Entertainment Incorporated has announced the signing of an agreement that will see it replace the existing management systems at four recently-acquired locations with the Synkros innovation from gaming machine innovator Konami Gaming Incorporated. Golden Entertainment Incorporated revealed that the coming months will see Synkros rolled out at its Aquarius Casino Resort […]

Friday, March 23, 2018

Belgium’s Constitutional Court Restores VAT Exemption on Online Gambling Services

Casino News Daily
Belgium’s Constitutional Court Restores VAT Exemption on Online Gambling Services

The Constitutional Court of Belgium annulled on Thursday a 2016 constitutional amendment under which online gambling operators were required to pay a 21% value-added tax on their Belgian operations.

Belgium regulated its online gambling market in early 2010 when amendments to the Gaming and Betting Act of 1999 were published in the Belgian Official Gazette. The amendments took effect on January 1, 2011 to allow international gambling operators to apply for licenses from the Belgian Gaming Commission and operate in a regulated environment.

In 2016, the Belgian Finance Ministry successfully advanced a bill that proposed for online gambling services to become taxable under the country’s VAT laws. The new taxation regime came into force on August 1, 2016.

Gaming and betting transactions are exempt from VAT in the most general case. The Belgian government justified its decision to change the status quo in 2016 with the need for new revenue sources and for a major boost to the country’s tax income. It was estimated that the termination of gambling and betting companies’ VAT exemption could generate the additional amount of €39 million for Belgium’s coffers.

Malta-headquartered gambling operator Kindred Group (previously Unibet Group) was among the first to comment on the latest tax developments in Belgium and the Constitutional Court decision. The company has previously challenged the introduction of VAT on online gambling operations, slamming it as “unfair” and arguing that it undermined “policy objectives” and lowered channelization by affecting consumer protection.

In a statement from earlier today, Kindred went on to say:

The ruling also points out the inherent incompatibility between consumer protection and tax revenue objectives, especially when products (lotteries vs other products) and channels (retail vs online) are treated differently.

Gambling Ads Crackdown

The Thursday ruling was certainly a big victory for Belgium-facing online gaming and betting operators. However, the country’s gambling industry suffered a heavy blow last fall, when it became known that the Belgian Chamber of Representatives has approved a proposal for the introduction of a stricter gambling advertising code.

The proposal first emerged last summer when it was tabled by Koen Geens, a Christian Democrat MP from Belgium’s Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams party. Mr. Geens criticized heavily the increased exposure of gambling services to vulnerable people, including children, through advertising and presented what he believed would be a good solution to the issue.

Mr. Geens’ plan included an outright ban on gambling-related ads during sports events broadcasts and the introduction of an 8 pm watershed. The politician and his party also called for the number of ads by each individual operator to be limited and for new measures tackling problem gambling and wider awareness of gambling-related risks to be introduced. The move was supported by the Belgian Gaming Commission.

The post Belgium’s Constitutional Court Restores VAT Exemption on Online Gambling Services appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Scientific Games launches Jin Ji Bao Xi™

World Casino News
Scientific Games launches Jin Ji Bao Xi™

After successfully launching Duo Fu Duo Cai in Macau, Scientific Games Corporation is ready to release another new title. The Asian linked progressive Jin Ji Bao Xi™ has been installed for the first time ever in Macau, set to launch in the Philippines and Cambodia in the near future. The new game is the latest […]

UK Court of Appeal Rejects Ladbrokes Appeal in HMRC Tax Battle

Casino News Daily
UK Court of Appeal Rejects Ladbrokes Appeal in HMRC Tax Battle

The UK Court of Appeal rejected an appeal lodged by Ladbrokes in relation to the gambling operator’s decade-long £71-million tax avoidance battle with HM Revenue and Customs, City A.M. reports.

The dispute relates to a 2008 tax scheme deployed by Ladbrokes and accountancy firm Deloitte that exploited a legal loophole to avoid a higher corporate tax bill. The loophole was closed by the UK Government the same year.

Back then, Delloite advised several of its clients, Ladbrokes included, to establish “transacting subsidiaries” within their groups and to transfer corporate tax charges into these. The larger groups thus created just a single unit that was generating losses.

In Ladbrokes’ case, the high street bookmaker merged two of its companies – Travel Document Service and Ladbrokes International, into one subsidiary. The arrangement involved an “artificially manufactured fall in the value of shares” in one of the companies to create a loss in the other company for tax avoidance purposes. Ladbrokes was found to have not suffered actual economic loss following the move.

The dispute between Ladbrokes and HMRC began with the latter slamming the gambling operator for knowingly entering the arrangement and exploiting a loophole to renege tax duties. The UK Government department also pointed out that nine UK corporations that had deployed Deloitte’s scheme had conceded to have done wrong and had paid the tax owed, urging Ladbrokes to follow suit.

The operator admitted back then that it did aim to avoid taxes and it did not generate losses in 2008, but maintained that its set-up did not fall within the remit of HMRC’s rules against tax avoidance at the time.

The bookmaker eventually paid the amount of £71 million in taxes but later on sought to recoup the sum.

Tribunal Court’s Ruling

The UK Tribunal Court sided with HMRC last February, ruling that Ladbrokes had been well-aware of the fact that it had exploited a tax loophole to avoid tax burden. The bookmaker was later on allowed to appeal the Tribunal Court’s ruling in the UK Court of Appeal.

The UK’s second highest law court rejected the major gambling operator’s appeal and bid to rebate the amount of £71 million it had to pay in taxes.

News about Ladbrokes losing its tax appeal case came shortly after the Competition and Markets Authority cleared the operator’s proposed takeover by Isle of Man-based online gambling company GVC Holdings.

GVC is set to acquire Ladbrokes Coral for up to £4 billion to create one of the world’s largest gambling companies. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year’s first half. This would be the second consolidation move undertaken by Ladbrokes Coral in as many years. The Ladbrokes Coral group was created back in 2016 through the merger of Ladbrokes and Coral. The company currently operates the largest chain of betting shops across the UK.

The post UK Court of Appeal Rejects Ladbrokes Appeal in HMRC Tax Battle appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Riverboat casino may be on the cards for Monroe

World Casino News
Riverboat casino may be on the cards for Monroe

Riverboat gambling could soon be coming to Louisiana’s eighth largest city after a state politician reportedly revealed that he intends to propose legislation that would reclassify a section of the Ouachita River in order to make it more attractive to casino operators. According to a Tuesday report from The News-Star newspaper, Marcus Hunter from the […]

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mini-casino licence auction postponed in PA

Casino News – Focus Gaming News
Mini-casino licence auction postponed in PA

The PGCB postponed the auction of a fifth mini-casino licence due to bad weather conditions.

The post Mini-casino licence auction postponed in PA appeared first on Focus Gaming News.

Two Casinos Reach Out to Macau’s Health Bureau Applying for 12 Smoking Lounges

Casino News Daily
Two Casinos Reach Out to Macau’s Health Bureau Applying for 12 Smoking Lounges

Today, the Health Bureau (SS) of Macau revealed that it has been reached out by two casinos applying to build a total of 12 smoking lounges in their properties as of March 21st. The casino operators that have filed applications seeking the local authorities’ approval, are the recently-opened MGM Cotai and Ponte 16 casino hotel. No additional information about the number of smoking lounges sought to be established by each of the companies was revealed.

According to information provided by the Health Bureau, other casinos in the gambling hub also have intentions to apply, seeking permission to set up smoking lounges in their gambling facilities.

Gaming companies that currently operate in the city have until September 28th to apply for opening new smoking lounges in order for them to have a chance of getting the authorities’ approval before the new smoking ban in casinos comes into effect on January 1st, 2019. Today, the Health Bureau of Macau announced that September 28th would be the last day for local gambling operators to file their applications for setting special smoking lounges with enhanced technical standards in their casino venues.

As far as existing smoking lounges constructed on casino mass floors after the ban are concerned, casino operators would be required to have them upgraded in order for the facilities to meet the new standards imposed by Macau’s Health Bureau.

Macau Casino Smoking Ban

The new regulatory regime on smoking was imposed by the Macau Government in October 2014. At that time, the Government suspended smoking on casino mass floors, with an exception being made for the so-called enclosed smoking lounges.

The latter are special facilities located on some casino mass-market floors, where there are no gaming tables or slot machines, but smoking is allowed. On July 14th 2017, the Legislative Assembly of Macau gave the green light to a revised bill on smoking under which smoking in VIP rooms was suspended. Despite the fact that the amendment was set to be officially enforced on January 1st 2018, visitors of Macau casino VIP rooms are to be given the opportunity for tableside tobacco use until January 1st 2019, because the city’s casinos were provided with a grace period of one year to apply for and set up VIP smoking lounges under the new piece of legislation.

In accordance with the legislation amendment, smoking would be fully banned in casinos as of January 1st 2019, with the only exception being made for the above-mentioned smoking lounges.

The owners of already existing casino smoking lounges would have to submit separate requests to upgrade the facilities and would have to be provided with new licenses from the Macau authorities in order to be given the chance to operate such lounges. In case that any casinos run existing smoking lounges without the necessary technical upgrades and under a newly-issued operating license after the smoking ban comes into effect on January 1st 2019, they could be forced to pay monetary fine of up to MOP 200,000.

The post Two Casinos Reach Out to Macau’s Health Bureau Applying for 12 Smoking Lounges appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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