Bookmakers in the UK

 Bookmakers in the UK? Love them or hate them, they are a necessity. In fact we are extremely fortunate in the UK to have a very lively and successful gambling industry. In some countries betting is illegal and we tend to forget that when we moan about the inadequacies and unfairness of our bookies.

But look at it this way: if they did not make a profit they would not be there. They have to in order to survive! The whole industry depends on that simple fact. You would be better justified complaining at the level of tax imposed by the government. Much more goes in tax than in profit to the bookmaker - they live on a very small margin of the turnover.

Maybe the Government will indeed reduce the tax level imposed on the industry in response to the drift (or is it a rush) into off-shore set-ups. A rapidly increasing proportion of bets are being placed with off-shore bookies by UK residents and bookies are rushing to open up off-shore. Why? UK residents do not have to pay UK tax (9%) on the bets that they place (Never ever pay this tax on your winnings, unless you intend to lose all the time) and the bookies can charge a few percentage points (typically 3%) as administration charges (win-win except for the government).

Remember, you do not have to pay income tax on money gained through gambling, so keep careful records to prove to the tax man that this is how you got your Rolls Royce etcetera. You also need to be meticulous with your accounts because bookmakers make mistakes. Some genuine, some maybe not. Check all your statements against your records. Claim back any money due to you and overlooked - it happens surprisingly often. Forget about overpayments (they also happen would you believe).

Avoid placing big bets (more than £50-100) with only one bookie. spread them around, 50 here, 50 there. If you are consistently winning large amounts (more than £1,000) you will have your account closed.


Hate the bookies? Make friends with several in your neighbourhood. Lose a few times. Bet small stakes. Make your big bets by telephone or internet. But there will be occasions when you really want to watch the race or monitor the live betting market. There is less and less stigma attached to visiting the bookmaker and they are now often air conditioned with smoke-free areas. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

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copyright © 2000 Doug Bruce Enterprises Doug Bruce, Dept. NS1,  FREEPOST LON 10847, London NW4 2YR