The United Kingdom’s gambling industry is ever-growing. According to figures from Finder, Great Britain’s betting market was worth approximately £14.3 billion in September 2019. Between 2018 and 2022, European Gaming forecasts that the UK-based sector will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.16 percent. As the market sustains its progression, new players explore the world of casino and sports betting. With that, questions emerge regarding the nature of taxes on potential winnings. So, let’s take a look at the UK’s tax laws and consider how they’ve changed over time.

Legislative Changes in 2002 

Almost 20 years ago, the Government introduced new rulings that abolished the betting tax. The tax-free decision was announced in 2001, but it didn’t come into effect until January 2002. Before the current legislation came into play during Tony Blair’s reign, pre-existing laws stated that the Government collected a betting duty of 6.75 percent from bookmakers, which passed on to bettors at a tax rate of 9 percent. A report from the BBC highlights that the forward-thinking rulings allowed tax-free betting for the first time since 1968.

The at-the-time Chancellor Gordon Brown, led the operation that would instead charge betting providers on 15 percent of their profits. The news was well-received by bettors, and the legislative alteration proved to be incredibly successful for the industry’s profits. A report from The Guardian in 2005 states that the volume of placed wagers quadrupled following the law change. Furthermore, total revenue figures rose from £27 billion to £53 billion over the first four years.

At the time of the decision, increasing numbers of online betting providers sought to expand their offerings. In the early-2000s, a handful of platforms endeavoured to introduce real-time offerings. With bettors able to enjoy tax-free winnings, adding more immersive betting markets played a pivotal role in attracting new users. Since then, the industry has gone from strength to strength, with in-play betting being a focal point of modern-day gambling.

As such, bettors do not have to pay tax on their sports betting winnings in the UK. However, that also means that they can’t file a tax refund on their losses. This doesn’t solely apply to sports betting, as the laws are also the same in other gambling activities, such as lotteries and slots.

Finding the Best Platforms for Tax-Free Winnings 

As touched on above, legislative changes and forward-thinking betting concepts have dramatically enhanced the UK’s gambling sector. With participation and revenue at an all-time high, there are now more available platforms than ever before on the market. While many of them specialise in different sports, they each ensure tax-free betting in the UK following the 2002 reform. As tax-free winnings on all sports betting are guaranteed, there are various other criteria to consider before registering with a top-rated platform.

In the UK, legal betting dates back to the 1960s and the Betting and Gaming Act. Nowadays, the sector works under the Gambling Act, which came into force in 2005. Not only does the legislation control gambling, but it also licenses bookmakers to operate online. In line with existing rules, many of the best UK bookies in 2021 are fully licensed and regulated. Top-rated operators typically hold numerous licenses, granting them permission to operate both in and out of Great Britain. 888sport, one of several promotion-offering providers listed at, has a UK and Gibraltar-based license. This showcases that the platform is both legitimate and secure.

Without worrying about taxes, there are other factors to consider before delving into the sports betting world. For some, mobile functionality may be of utmost importance. With Neath becoming the latest Welsh town to receive 5G networks, increasing numbers of local bettors may strive to participate in on-the-move betting. Back in 2013, Deloitte reports that more than eight in ten adults aged between 25 and 34 used their smartphones to gamble. Because of the convenience of remote betting, platforms like 10bet and LV Bet have since created optimised mobile apps for smartphone players.

Tax Changes Have Spearheaded Unprecedented Growth 

The betting industry was always popular within the UK. However, legislative changes thrust the sector into a new era. Through eradicating tax, betting became more attractive throughout Great Britain, and the above data reflects that. The legal alterations played a pivotal role in growing the industry, and it goes without saying that the timing couldn’t have been any better.

In-play betting’s introduction during the same year saw the industry take a significant stride forward towards a user-friendly future. Now, both tax-free betting and in-play opportunities remain at the forefront of the sports gambling market, which won’t change in the near future. Brown took a risk with his legislative proposals at the turn of the millennium, but hindsight shows that it was an incredibly profitable decision.