Bacta advocate removal of FECs, operators and suppliers from Levy proposals

Bacta has written to policy stakeholders including the Gambling Minister the senior team at DCMs and the Gambling Commission to express its ‘strong concerns’ regarding the structure and application of the proposed Statutory Levy.

Continuing the line of argument in the speech he made in front of the Minister and Andrew Rhodes at the Bacta Convention, chief executive John White acknowledged the logic of the so called smart levy stating that it made no sense for a 2p pusher to be treated in the same way as a harder gambling product such as on-line spread betting but questioned the mechanism being proposed.

In his communications with DCMS officials White argued that a simple solution was being wrongly applied to what is a complex industry. Citing feedback from bacta members active in the supply chain he said: “Our manufacturers and single-site operators will be charged 0.4percent of their gross profits which is an unacceptable 400 percent increase in one of the many taxes they have to pay and is in addition to the huge jump in business costs.”

Pointing out that the mechanism will also fly in the face of the principles behind the levy proposals he noted that it would result in manufacturers, operators and sites all having to pay a levy on the same machine, so called double-dipping. Manufacturers and operators will also be faced with having to pass-on costs to pubs and clubs which he said  the consultation explicitly excludes from paying the levy.

Pointing out the discrepancy in relation to unlicensed FECs which would be exempt from paying and licensed FECs which would we be charged thereby creating a competitive disadvantage. White has advocated a simple solution of removing FECs, operators and suppliers out of the equation totally. He concluded: “Whilst there will be some manufacturers and content providers that will have to work out what product they are supplying to what sector it on the whole, corrects an unintended distortion in the Smart Levy principle.”