New rules will bring gambling in line with lotto and lotteries
Gambling on the outcome of an event, including sports, will be exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT) from January, as will the services of bookmakers and betting exchanges.
A notice published in the Government Gazette this week shows that as from January 1, the placing of bets and wagers, including the services of bookmakers, betting exchanges and “equivalent facilities” will be exempt without credit for VAT purposes.
Events on which betting and placing of wagers will be exempt include sporting events, both real life and virtual, competitions, lotteries, performance of an index and a natural phenomenon.
Gambling on the outcome of casino-type tables games, such as blackjack, poker and roulette, and any game of chance where they outcome is determined by a random generator will not be exempt from the tax. Similarly, any gambling with the use of remote gaming equipment will not be exempt.
At present, government lotto and lotteries are exempt from the tax.
The exemption from VAT of gambling is outlined in the Value Added Tax Act, the notice shows and it is also an implementation of a Council of Europe directive on the common system of VAT.
According to this directive, EU States may exempt from VAT “betting, lotteries and other forms of gambling subject to the conditions and limitations laid down by each Member State”.
Questions by this newspaper to the Finance Ministry on how this would work and how much revenue the exemption would cost the country were not answered by the time of writing.
Last year, Malta’s VAT revenue was just over €0.7 billion, which translates to 7.3 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.