English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Chancellor urged to reform business rates to help bookmakers


Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been urged to reform business rates in Wednesday's Budget to help retail businesses such as betting shops and casinos.

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has also called for help to tackle the online black market, as well as a reform of casino taxation rates. The BGC said that more than 1,500 betting shops have closed since the introduction of the new maximum stake of £2 for FOBTs last April.

They are asking for a reform of business rates, including changing the rules to allow more small businesses such as bookmakers to take advantage of the small business rate relief. BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: "An antiquated business rates regime does nothing to help struggling high streets hit by a drop in footfall. 

"Bookies and casinos help attract people to our town centres but once they’re gone there are few if any retailers to step in to take their place. "We urge the chancellor to take bold steps to help the high street with reform to business rates and casino taxation."  The BGC is also calling on the government for help to tackle the online gambling black market, warning there was a danger that under-18s could be accessing websites without strict ID and age verification measures, as well as pointing out the loss to the exchequer.

Dugher added: "We welcomed the government’s commitment to an Online Harms Bill as an opportunity to clamp down on the black market and the big platform search engines promoting these sites.

"Unlike rogue black market operators, BGC members in the regulated sector adhere to the highest standards – including zero tolerance on under-18s betting.

"We ask the chancellor to press for change that will help boost exchequer revenues and stop unlicensed operators from preying on vulnerable consumers."