Great Britain's Treasury, alarmed by the loss of revenue to offshore operations of the country's "big three" of gambling--Ladbrokes, Victor Chandler and Coral--has proposed new legislation that would make those companies subject to tax laws that cover subsidiaries of British companies based in tax havens.
Victor Chandler moved to Gibraltar in May and Ladbrokes followed last month. William Hill, another giant English bookmaker, is planning to move its telephone betting business to Ireland, and Coral was looking for a foreign base. Although British bettors have benefited from the moves--they are charged only a 3 percent service charge from Gibraltar as opposed to 6.75 percent in Britain--the Treasury says the government is losing millions on the overseas share of the £7 billion being bet annually. The legal bookies are protesting that the proposed legislation would drive them out of business by allowing foreign competitors to capture the British market tax-free.