Court rules against Gibraltar in tax challenge
A challenge to the government's point of consumption tax regime by representatives of the Gibraltar gambling industry has foundered at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) argued the regime, which came into force in December 2014, impeded cross-border trade, contrary to article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
In 2015, the high court in London found in favour of the GBGA that the UK tax on online gambling raised issues of European law that should be decided by the European court.
However, earlier this year the advocate general Maciej Szpunar, whose job is to assist judges by presenting a legal opinion on the cases assigned to them, said the UK and Gibraltar should be considered as a single member state and that the UK gambling duty did not restrict the free movement of services.
That opinion was reiterated in the European court this week who said there was nothing to justify the argument that relations between Gibraltar and the UK could be regarded as similar to those existing between two member states.
The court added: "It follows that the provision of services by operators established in Gibraltar to persons established in the United Kingdom constitutes, under EU law, a situation confined in all respects within a single member state."
The GBGA represents a number of leading online bookmakers based in Gibraltar and had previously launched an unsuccessful challenge against the UK government's move to regulate gambling on a point of consumption basis.