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William Hill Hints at Moving Operations Offshore


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Even though the United Kingdom boasts one of the most progressive land and
online gambling industries in the world today, it hefty rates of taxation may
well send its largest gambling groups packing, the latest of which is rumoured
to be leading UK-based betting and gambling operation, William Hill.

Despite the fact that William Hill is as British a company as any, according to
recent reports it may be looking to run its lucrative online gambling operation
from greener, more tax-friendly pastures offshore. It’s no secret that gambling
companies based in the UK are liable for higher taxes than those based offshore.

William Hill CEO, Ralph Topping was recently quoted as saying, ‘When it comes to
telephonic and online gambling we’re competing in a global market, even more
than we were five years ago. As such we believe that the competitive landscape
will change even more over the next decade and we must adapt to it.’

The UK’s relaxed gambling laws and regulations act like a double-edged sword. On
one hand they allow and encourage gambling companies to be based and operated in
the country. But on the other, they offer tax breaks to offshore gambling firms
which has increased competition for locally based operations.

Continued Topping, ‘Currently William Hill faces worldwide competition from
approximately 400 English-language betting websites. So under these
circumstances, we clearly do not have the luxury of being parochial about our
future or taking a simplistic stance on complicated issues.’

Successful gambling companies such as Ireland-based Paddy Power and
Gibraltar-based Bwin are just two of the companies vying for a piece of the
lucrative UK gambling market, and are currently paying lower taxes than William
Hill. For this reason William Hill may be looking at relocating outside of the
UK.

This admission by William Hill may come as a much-needed wake up call for the UK
government which would stand to lose out on up to 45 million pounds a year in
taxes if William Hill and the country’s other two major betting operations,
Ladbrokes and Coral, relocated their online and telephonic businesses offshore.

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