HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has reported that its betting and gaming industry tax income has fallen overall by 6% on corresponding 2019/2020 financial year results.
Publishing its ‘provisional’ National Statistics on UK Gambling, HMRC reported that tax receipts from the sector registered from April 2020 to March 2021 had totalled £2.83bn, down £182m on 2019/2020 fiscal duties.
The government department attributed the shortfall to the enforced closure of betting and gaming venues from April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Changing market dynamics, however, saw HMRC record a 25% increase in tax receipts recorded from Remote Gaming Duties (RGD) from online casino/games verticals which totalled £885m, up £179m on 2019/2020 results.
Accounting for 31% of total industry income, RGD increased tax duties were recorded against a 44% decline in Machine Gaming Duties (MGD) to £282m and a further 62% decline in land-based Gaming Duties (GD) to £79m.
HMRC communicated: “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 remained the HMRC’s highest industry income generator, recording provisional receipts of £980m, up £12m (1%) on 2019/2020 results.
Despite certain COVID-19 restrictions, the department noted that Lottery Duties had remained stable against previous financial years, with the sector further recording peak activity during February 2021 which registered receipts of £101m alone.
Betting Duties accounted for total receipts of £604m, up 2% on 2019/2020 results of £591m, with 98.4% allocated from General Betting Duties covering remote and retail wagers.
Despite the growth of receipts, HMRC underlined that performance had been below expectations likely due to the “cancellation of several sporting events due to the coronavirus pandemic may have contributed to this rise being limited”.