British bookies facing possible machine tax hike

British bookmakers are facing the prospect of a tax-rate increase as Her Majesty’s Treasury looks to generate income amid the economic downturn.

Reuters reports Chancellor Alistair Darling’s pre-budget report is due to be released this week, and analysts are saying that gambling profits – especially those derived from fixed odds betting terminals – are “easy targets” in the current environment.

“The budget has contained many surprises in the past,” Anna Barnfather, an analyst with Jeffries International, told the news agency. “We believe that an increase in machine taxes is most probably and, indeed, likely.”