Betfair May Go Offshore

Unless Government levels an "uneven playing field," Betfair may move offshore

High gross profit tax of 15 percent forced some UK based online betting operators like Ladbrokes and William Hill to move their operations offshore. They may soon be joined by Betfair, which occupied the position that there is no difference to the authorities' view of on and offshore firms, adding that companies should then be stimulated to remain onshore where 1000 of its 2000 staff complement work.

In an interview given to the UK Sunday Telegraph, Betfair's CEO David Yu said: "We're very happy to be licensed and to pay sensible tax but if we don't see movement we'd have to consider what's right for the business over the long term."

Betfair, as well as other British bookmakers, have been wrangling over the levy amounting to 10 percent of gross profits on UK horseracing that's paid to the sport in Britain.

In addition to this, Yu commented: "We've been very proud to be a British business and I think we're one of the real UK success stories. Last year we paid about GBP 20 million in gross tax on our profits, so we're making a significant contribution back into the UK. We've been engaged in a dialogue with the Government and what we would hope is that we can find a way for that playing field to be leveled. It might be around advertising, for example. Maybe one thing might be that you would need to be licensed in the UK and paying tax if you want to advertise in the media or do other things here in the UK."

In a separate issue Betfair and other bookmakers are wrangling over the 10 percent levy they pay to the UK horseracing industry, a deadline on next year's levy was due on Oct. 30, 2010.

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