Gaming tax won't stop ad barrage in U.K.

It's a win some, lose some issue. The 15% remote gaming duty laid out in last week's U.K. budget may not have pleased offshore gaming companies, but experts are predicting they'll still heartily exploit the deregulation of gambling advertising laws set for September.

They were certainly looking for more from last week's budget announcement from Finance Minister Gordon Brown: Lobbying had been for a remote gaming tax of as little as 2-3% to be introduced, possibly luring offshore gaming companies back to the U.K.

Instead, the tax will be levied at 15%, and offshore gambling firms are expected to snub the government and not seek U.K. licenses.

John Coates, the offshore industry group's chairman, even went so far as to say the U.K. government had "turned its back on the industry."

However, a recent European Commission push for freedom of trade rules has also led to sweeping deregulation of gambling ad laws, and the same offshore companies expected to snub the licenses are expected to advertise heavily.

Recent research has indicated up to 8% of the adult population in the U.K. gambles electronically in some form, and industry experts expect the gambling industry to take full advantage when September arrives.

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