HC Deb 06 April 1948 vol 449 cc65-7

I now come to the question of Betting Duty. The collection of this duty has proved easy and profitable, and I have come to the conclusion that, in present circumstances, football and similar pools can bear a higher rate of duty. I propose, therefore, to increase the present rate of 10 per cent. to 20 per cent. The new rate will apply to all such pools in respect of events taking place after today. There is one small loophole in this duly which I propose to close. Some operators in this field have discovered that the existing definition of pool betting, by which winnings are related to the total amount staked, does not cover the case in which a fixed amount is offered as the prize money, to be divided amongst the winners without reference to the total amount staked. The definition of pool betting will be extended to cover these cases. The tax on bets with the totalisators at dog tracks bears more heavily than that on the pools, because of the mote rapid turnover of money from race to race. I do not, therefore, propose to increase the tax on totalisator bets.

On the occasion of the last Budget, there was a considerable volume of opinion, on all sides of the House, that the Duty should be extended to all other forms of betting. It will, however, be generally agreed that a comprehensive scheme to cover all betting—on and off the course—which is equitable, cannot be introduced without radical amendment of the gambling laws, and it is not my intention to introduce such a scheme now.

The question of the amendment of these laws, which I am at present considering with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, raises matters on which there are deep differences of opinion amongst the public. There is, however, the special case of bookmakers operating on the dog courses, who are competing with the totalisators. I propose that these bookmakers shall pay a graduated licence duty for each meeting, and that the occupier of the racecourse shall be responsible for collecting the duty from the bookmaker and paying it over to the Customs.

The licence duties for each meeting for courses where there are three betting enclosures will be £6, £18 and £48; for two enclosures, £6 and £24; and, for courses with only one enclosure, £12. These rates will apply to the normal eight-race meeting, and will be subject to adjustment up or down, according to the number of races run. The new licence duties will come into operation from the tenth day after the Finance Bill receives the Royal Assent. This will allow time for the issue of licences, notices, and instructions, to all concerned. The changes that I have mentioned in the betting taxes will raise the total yield of the betting duties by £11 million in a full year and by £8½ million in 1948–49.

Back to
Forward to