Comparison of Gambling Taxes
Gamblers in many countries find that their winnings are affected by a small tax. Opinions are pretty mixed as to whether or not this tax should exist, but we can probably all agree that being taxed by the government for your hard-earned profits will always feel a little unfair in the moment.
Casinos are also caught up in a web of taxes and fees, which is a big part of how communities and economies are able to benefit from their existence. In the majority of countries that have legalised gambling, casinos have to pay a tax on their GGR, or Gross Gaming Revenue. This is usually calculated as a percentage of a casino’s net profit, though every country does it a little differently. To make this work, governments have to strike a delicate balance in order to make a profit without discouraging casinos from setting up in their area.
Nobody likes taxes, and if there’s a legal way to avoid them we’re all going to jump at the opportunity. With this in mind, it’s useful to have an awareness of which countries are charging the lowest taxes on gamblers and casinos. Having that said, do not use this as legal advice of any kind, but rather an entertaining read.
Lowest Taxes for Online Players
Where can players gamble online and avoid extortionate taxes?
#9: Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic
In Austria, players can win online without facing any taxes. Whether a casino is land-based or operates online, all taxes are paid by the casino and not the player. The casino operator in Austria is expected to pay 35-80% of all stakes, minus winnings. Austria’s neighbour, the Czech Republic has almost 200 land based casinos and has also legalised online gambling. Whether you’re gambling online or at land-based casinos in the Czech Republic, you will not be taxed on your winnings. Taxes are paid by casino operators instead, who are taxed between six and 20% of all profits.
Neighbouring Austria to the East, Hungarian gambling dates back to the 19th century with its first official legalisation occuring in 1991. Online poker became legal in Hungary in 2009. Just like Austria and the Czech Republic, gambling winnings are not taxable in Hungary whether you’re playing online or in land based casinos.
Whether you’re gambling online or in person, your winnings will not be subjected to a gambling tax in Australia. Here, both gambling taxes and license fees are covered by the casino operator.
For the paying casinos, some states charge their taxes based on player loss or net profit, while others base it on turnover.
Fun fact: Australia’s first official lottery at the Sydney cup took place in 1881.
For online live dealer play in Australia, we can recommend Unique Casino.
#7: Belgium and Luxembourg
Online gambling was legalized in Belgium in 2002, though the country’s people have been gambling in some form or another since the 1300s. The country only grants a limited number of licenses for casinos, however, and this goes for both online and offline businesses. Gambling tax in Belgium doesn’t apply to winnings whether they were made at an online casino or a land based one. Although the players aren’t taxed, the casinos themselves are expected to cover their license each year through a contribution to the government.
Belgium’s tiny south-eastern neighbour, Luxembourg opened its first casino, Casino Bourgeois, back in the 1880s. As with winnings in its larger neighbouring country, winnings from both land based and online casinos are not taxable in Luxembourg. Taxes for its casino operators fall inside a wide range of between 10 and 80% of total gaming revenues.
Fun fact: Konkke Casino is the largest of the 10 casinos currently operating out of Belgium.
Bulgaria legalised online gambling in 2008, 15 years after the legalisation of offline gambling. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that detailed regulations for online games were set. Alongside a new tax on turnover for online casino operators, official Bulgarian gambling sites were launched in 2013.
Bulgarian casino operators pay 17,500 for each license and location they operate, as well as an additional fixed tax for roulette and table games.
You won’t be taxed on your gambling winnings in Bulgaria, a rule that applies to both online and land based casinos.
Fun fact: One of the more notable casinos in Bulgaria is Varna Resort, located on the Black Sea.
Online gambling has been legal in Canada since the 2000s, after a tempestuous history of gambling being banned and unbanned since 1892.
Online gambling winnings in Canada are tax-free, just like with land based casinos there.
Fun fact: All gambling was banned in Canada in 1892. In 1900, bingo and raffles became legal, with horse racing following a decade later.
Canadian players have favoured Casumo for a long time. They are also one of the highest overall rated live casinos on our website.
#4: Denmark and Finland
You can always count on the Nordic countries to treat you fairly!
Online casinos in Denmark, as well as the country’s six land-based casinos, are regulated by the Danish Gambling Authority. Here, players are not taxed for online or land based casino winnings. Instead, the casino operators must pay a sizeable 45-75% tax on their gross gaming revenue.
Finland, another Nordic country, has a long history of gambling but doesn’t actually have that many land-based casinos. Online gambling winnings are not taxed in Finland. Players can gamble at the one land-based casino, or online, without paying taxes on their winnings.
Fun fact: Denmark’s oldest casino is Casino Marienlyst in Helsigor.
Winnings from land based and online casino gambling are not taxable in Germany. Once again, the taxes are paid by casinos instead. Private casinos have varying rules to follow for taxation, while state-owned casinos pay a whopping 80% tax on their GGR.
Fun fact: Germany’s first casino was opened in Baden in 1765.
Leo Vegas is a popular choice for German live casino players.
Online casinos were introduced in Italy in 2006, which is also when gambling started being regulated in the country. Players are not taxed on winnings in Italy. Once again, this goes for both land based and online casinos. Casino operators get away pretty lightly, too, paying only 1% in taxes on their total gaming revenues.
Fun fact: One of the longest gambling histories to be found is that of Italy. The oldest game in the history of gambling, dice was played by Emperors back in the Roman Empire.
While gambling had been going on in and around Malta since the dawn of civilisation, the country’s first Lotto Act wasn’t put in place until 1922. In modern Malta, licences for both land based and online casinos are issued and regulated by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority. In the year 2000, Malta became the first member of the EU to put regulations on online gambling. Licenses are now held by over 80 online casinos to operate in the country.
Online gambling winnings are not taxable for players in Malta, neither are winnings from land-based casinos. As with the other countries on this list, taxes are instead paid by the casino operator, with Malta operators paying out around 5% of their gross turnover as well as a €8,500 licensing fee.
Fun fact: Three of Malta’s best casino resorts are Portomaso Casino, Oracle Casino and Casino Malta by Olympic Casino.
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Lowest Taxes for Online Casinos
In all of the countries listed above, players have got away without paying taxes because the casinos have been paying out instead. So where’s the best place to set up an online casino if you want to keep your profits?
Casino operators in Greece are expected to declare income tax annually, just like any other business. For online casinos, GGR taxes are significantly lower than those of land-based Greek casinos, coming to between 15-20% of their gross profit.
Fun fact: Many consider Greece to be the birthplace of Western philosophy, literature and drama, historiography, a number of important mathematical and scientific principles, political science AND democracy.
We’ve already discussed how great Hungary is for online gamblers, but did you know it’s also a pretty good place to set up an online casino? For remote online gambling, casinos pay taxes on just 15% of their net revenue. Meanwhile, other online casinos are charged at varying rates. For example, Joker is taxed at 17% of the monthly prize pool, Keno at 24% and Bingo at 7%.
Fun fact: The beginning of the name “Hungary” most likely comes from its early historical association with the Huns.
#7: New Jersey (USA)
Online gambling isn’t legal in every American state, but it is in New Jersey! In NJ, casinos are charged a tax of 15% on gross gaming revenue for online gambling.
Fun fact: New Jersey’s first legalised casino was opened in Atlantic City in 1978.
The beautiful, eastern Mediterranean Cyprus is a gorgeous place to go not only as a holiday maker, but as an online casino operator, too. Licensed premises (including online casinos) are expected to pay two taxes of 10% and 3% of their net revenue to the State Gaming Board. These proceeds will then be distributed among the Sports Federation, the Football Federation, and gambling addiction programmes.
Fun fact: Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world, as well as a well-preserved Neolithic village, Khirokitia.
Belgium is tax-free for players, but it’s also pretty comfortable for the casinos themselves. The country is split into three main regions (Brussels-Capital, Flemish and Walloon), all of which are allowed to choose the tax rates for online gaming. Right now, the tax rate is a light 11% of gross gaming revenue.
Just like Belgium and Hungary, Malta is a great place to set up for gamblers and online casino operators alike. Gaming tax for operators varies according to a casino’s licence category, and a licence itself costs around €8,500.
For online casinos with a Class 1 licence (online lotteries and casino-type games), taxes are a flat rate of €4,660/month for the first 6 months and €7,000/month from then onwards. For fixed-odds betting (class 2), online casinos are charged taxes of 0.5% on all bets accepted. Meanwhile, for peer-to-peer gaming and poker networks, online casinos are taxed at 5% of their real income.
Regardless of which license class they fall under, the maximum amount any online casino will be taxed is €466,000 per year.
France charges its online casino owners different taxes for different types of gambling, but all of these taxes are pretty modest. Sports and horse betting is taxed at 5.3% of wagers, and online poker at 1.8%.
Fun fact: The oldest traces of human life in France date from around 1.8 million years ago.
#2: Isle of Man
Taxes on the Isle of Man are the same for online casinos as for land-based operations. The amount is based on a set of three groupings. For those whose gross gaming revenue is less than £20 million per year, taxes are charged at 1.5% of GGR. Casinos who make between £20 and 40 million per year are taxed at 0.5%, while those who make more than £40 million per year are taxed just 0.1% per year.
Fun fact: Online gambling generates 17% of the Isle of Man’s gross national income.
#1: Alderney (Channel Islands)
Alderney, part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, is sort of a dream come true for online casino operators. The island charges no corporate tax, gambling duty or VAT, and a very low income tax rate of 20% with a maximum charge of £220,000 per annum on Guernsey-sourced income and £110,000 on non-Guernsey income.
Fun fact: The island is only 5 km long and 2.4 km wide, but already hosts the domain name registry for dozens of gambling website operators.
At the end of the day, no matter how much you’re betting, winning big is just easier to do in some countries than others! You can’t guarantee which horse will win or which way the cards will fall, but if you’re careful about where you place your bets you can at least make sure that all of your winnings are your own.