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Batting Tax Abolished: Timetable of events that led to the Chancellor's announcement yesterday.

Byline: Graham Cunningham

May 1999: Victor Chandler stuns the bookmaking world by announcing that he is to switch his operation offshore to Gibraltar, enabling punters to bet tax-free off course for the first time since 1968. Corals, Ladbrokes, Hills and several leading independents all gradually join the exodus.

January 2000: William Hill chief

executive John Brown puts forward the idea of replacing punters' deductions with a tax on bookmakers' gross profits as a means of heading off the tidal wave of internet betting. "Radical problems require radical solutions," he says, "and the UK can either become a major centre for

e-commerce business or a Luddite casualty of a new, dynamic era."

March 2000: With the racing industry on tenterhooks, and experts

almost unanimous in predicting a cut in betting duty, Chancellor Gordon Brown completes his Budget speech without once mentioning the racing or betting industries. Later in the day, the Government announces a consultation exercise on the future of betting duty, but says that changes will have to wait until next year's Budget.

November 9, 2000: The Chancellor pledges "a better deal" for punters in a pre-Budget statement which aims to "modernise the way betting is taxed in the UK and provide the right competitive environment for the betting industry to thrive

domestically and internationally". He also states that "the gross profits tax reform is one approach to such a modernising scheme" and adds that further discussions will be held so that objectives can be achieved in Budget 2001.

January 12, 2001: The Racing Post

reveals that the Government is poised to transform the taxation of betting in Britain through a scheme that will replace betting tax with a tax on bookmakers' gross profits. Forecasters suggest that turnover could more than double after a deal which is conditional on bookmakers repatriating those parts of their business switched offshore in 2000.

January 23, 2001: Stephen Timms,

financial secretary to the Treasury, provides the strongest hint to the public to date of a cut in betting duty, when he says: "We are

prepared to place a bet on the skills and the abilities of the UK betting industry to win in a worldwide marketplace and to achieve long-term growth. We want to make sure we bring betting back onshore and welcome a new international

market to this country."
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 8, 2001
Previous Article:Optimism mixed with realism on the front line.
Next Article:Betting Tax Abolished: Thrilled Kenny expecting Irish to follow suit.

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