by Anton Johan
Ralph Topping, the Chief Executive Officer of William Hill, was recently
interviewed by The Chronicle, a Gibraltar newspaper. William Hill
relocated to Gibraltar in order to escape the UK's tough tax regime on gambling
groups, joining rivals Ladbrokes and a number of other top gaming companies.
Topping was quoted as saying that the potential changes to the UK gambling
industry recently proposed by the government was akin to "stepping on a
The government recently announced that sweeping changes would be made to the
online gambling industry, including the introduction of a secondary licensing
and taxation regime. Topping said that these new proposals were not only an
example of "different departments doing their own things", but they were simply
unfair from many perspectives.
In July, the government announced new measures, and this was confirmed by the
UK Treasury who said that British operators who had moved offshore and who were
still servicing the UK market, would face new taxes.
Asked in the interview if William Hill would consider returning to the United
Kingdom, even if the new regime meant that the group lost its tax benefits, he
answered that there was "not a chance in hell of us coming back from Gibraltar"
Ralph Topping, known for his outspoken opinion, said about the
UK government's decision: "If politicians act holistically, people might think
that was a reasonable approach, but if they salami slice things, they're in
danger of making huge mistakes and getting into legal territory they wouldn't
Offering his host country a nod of courtesy, Topping pointed to
the fact that Gibraltar has become "the hub of online gambling activity in
He also added that if the UK wanted to make itself more
attractive to these Gibraltar based technology companies, the government would
"have to get their thinking caps on."