Gambling revenue for the 2020/2021 financial year fell short of estimates, owing largely to the economic effect of national lockdowns, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
COVID-19 lockdowns enforcing the closing of retail betting and gaming venues from March 2020 onwards resulted in gross tax revenues of £2.83 billion from April 2020 to March 2021, a reduction of £182 million or 6 percent as compared to 2019/2020 fiscal duties.
Cancellation of sporting events
The success of the betting industry had also been hampered by the ‘cancellation of several sporting events due to the coronavirus pandemic,’ according to HMRC.
HMRC stated in its ‘provisional’ National Statistics on UK Gambling that Betting Duties accounted for overall receipts of £604 million, up 2 percent from £591 million in 2019/2020, with 98.4 percent distributed from General Betting Duties covering remote and retail wagers.
HMRC reported a 25 percent rise in tax receipts from Remote Gaming Duties (RGD) from £179 million to £885 million as a result of the transition from retail to online betting and gaming.
RGD accounted for 31 percent of overall industry income, with higher tax duties offset by a 44 percent drop in Machine Gaming Duties (MGD) to £282 million and a 62 percent drop in land-based Gaming Duties (GD) to £79 million.
In a statement HMRC detailed: “Increases in RGD against previous financial years are potentially due to gamblers utilising online services in lockdown more so than they would if betting shops, bingo halls and other gambling premises were open as normal.”
Lottery Duty (LD) was the highest revenue source for HMRC across the different sectors of the UK betting and gaming industry, with preliminary revenues of £980 million, up £12 million from the previous year’s results and a 1 percent rise.
Despite the economic headwinds caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Lottery Duties remained steady in comparison to previous financial years, with receipts of £101 million in February 2021 alone.
Despite a decrease in overall UK gambling revenue for HMRC, some betting operators have announced good first quarter trading results for 2021, with companies like 888 highlighting achievements in their first quarter trading reports.