3 August 2015

The CJEU is to be asked for guidance by the High Court in the UK in proceedings brought by the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA). The GBGA is arguing that the new UK gambling taxes based on the place of consumption for online gambling (introduced under the banner “Gambling Tax Reform” or “GTR”) are in contravention of Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which allows for freedom of services.
The reference is simply a step in the judicial review proceedings brought by GBGA against the UK Government. The UK legislation has been enacted, and all operators must abide by it until such time as it is found to contravene the TFEU. If payments of tax are not made on time, the UK law provides for penalties and interest, and HMRC will impose such penalties.
It is unlikely in view of the similar taxes imposed in several other Member States that the CJEU will find against the UK Government. If it did, however, the UK (and perhaps all other relevant Member States) would probably have to repay all taxes collected unlawfully.
FiscalReps now has a consultancy arrangement with Ampla Consulting, and can offer detailed technical advice on any aspect of indirect tax related to gambling.