Tote to punt online casino from the Channel

Government bookie doesn't want to pay government tax

UK government-owned gambling outfit the Tote is shipping its online casino off to the the Channel Islands to avoid paying tax to, er, the UK government.

New laws that came into force in September aimed to liberalise gambling regulations in a bid by the government to attract the booming online sector to the UK, which is reckoned to be its largest legal market. Part of the new Gambling Act allows for more advertising and sponsorship by gaming firms, provided they are registered here.

The Tote is about to be privatised however, and like the rest of the web gambling business, has balked at a 15 per cent tax slapped on it by Gordon Brown back when he was chancellor.

Joined-up government? They've heard of it.

By basing its casino on Alderney, the Tote gets the freedom to promote itself, without paying the "remote gaming duty" or being subject to other regulations.

It pretty much makes a mockery of the government's gambling reforms. The fact that the company in question is currently owned by the government only adds to the whiff of farce.

If, like us, you're wondering why in the name of Shergar the government ever owned a bookies in the first place, you can read the Tote's version of its peculiar history here. ®

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