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Russia Considers Increasing Gambling Tax
- January 23, 2017 By Oliver Young -
Russia seems to be employing a tougher stance on gambling, both online and land-based. Last year, the focus was primarily on online gambling. The Russian authorities adopted stricter requirements for online operators and measures aimed at tackling illegal online gambling were considered by Government. Now, Russia considers changing the rage of the gaming tax for land-based casinos and the decision might have a strong impact on the industry and its growth.
The Fee that Operators Pay per Table and Slot Machine Might Be Raised
It has been reported that the tax amount paid per gaming machine might be increased in the near future. Now, the country doesn’t have a specific GGR tax. Nevertheless, casinos have to pay a monthly fee depending on the number of gaming tables and slot machines which are active. Under the current scheme, licence holders in Primorye region had to pay up 125,000 Roubles (about US $2,100) for every casino table in their casinos and additional 7,500 Roubles ($125) for every slot machine.
A law amendment has reportedly already been drafted, and according to that proposal casino operators will have to pay a fee between 50,000 and 250,000 Roubles per table (that’s between $840 and $4,200) and between 3,000 and 15,000 Roubles per slot machine (between $50 and $250).
According to analysts, experts and people who are familiar with the situation in Russia regarding gambling, claim that the proposed gambling tax increase is already discussed between officials. However, nothing has been finalised yet and the tax might not be increased. And even if the deal goes through, it won’t mean that casinos located in the entertainment zone in Vladivostok, as the fees paid by those casinos are already in the proposed category.
The worst scenario for the Primorye gambling industry would be if the local authorities decide to increase the tax rates and double the fees. In that case, the fees in Primorye would be equal to the highest rates under the new proposals.
The Fees for Operators in Primorye Will Most Likely Remain the Same
The Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone has been a large project which is expected to attract further investments in the area. The local government sees casino development and the associated revenues as an important source of income for the regulation, as well as a tool for attracting investments in associated industries. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that it will opt for a tax increase.
It has been reported that the number of foreign visitors, especially Chinese casino fans was particularly high last year and further growth is expected. In fact, a report suggests that the first half of 2016 saw more visitors compared to 2015 in full.
Direct flights from Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities have been introduced due to the high demand. If all that is taken into consideration, it is clear why nobody expects the local authorities to increase the table and slot machine fees for the operators.