War over betting tax hots up as court bans advertising for offshore bookees

The verdict overturns an earlier High Court decision which allowed Victor Chandler, and other bookmakers, to advertise their offshore betting services on electronic media such as Teletext.

Financial secretary Stephen Timms said: ‘This means we can continue to protect both the betting industry against unfair competition and the financial health of the racing industries who rely on the levy collected from each bet.

‘Bookmakers rely on the industry to generate their profits, yet by moving offshore they can undermine the very industry they depend on. The government intends to continue protecting the betting industry from unfair competition.’

Victor Chandler International moved its operation to Gibraltar last year and attempted to target former UK customers by offering ‘tax-free’ telephone betting with 3% deductions, as opposed to the 9% charged by the UK bookmakers.

The company took Customs to court after Teletext and Skytext removed advertising. Chandler wanted to test whether a ban could be extended to electronic media.

The original hearing was in favour of Chandler. Teletext and Skytext have been carrying the company’s ads since.

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