Sky Betting chief warns over the impact of increase in gambling duties to Powerhouse

Date:  20th May 2015. Picture James Hardisty, (JH1008/67e) Richard Flint, Chief Executive of Leeds Based Sky Bet & Gaming.
Date: 20th May 2015. Picture James Hardisty, (JH1008/67e) Richard Flint, Chief Executive of Leeds Based Sky Bet & Gaming.
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THE chief executive of Sky Betting & Gaming has warned Chancellor George Osborne that any increases in gambling duties in this year’s Budget could harm the Government’s plans to establish a Northern Powerhouse.

The Leeds-based independent online gambling firm revealed that it had delivered “significant growth” in its last financial year. In the year ended June 30 2015, group revenue increased by 36 per cent to £247m.

A spokesman for Sky Betting & Gaming said: “We’re not disclosing the profit figure, but profit growth for the group as a whole is in-line with revenue growth.

“We paid around £34m in gambling duties in 2015, the largest element of our overall tax bill by some distance. We think current rates are competitive but would be concerned about any increase in the forthcoming Budget and the impact this would have on our investment in jobs and new facilities.”

Richard Flint, the chief executive of Sky Betting & Gaming, said the company was already at a tax disadvantage and this would increase if the current rates went up.

He said: “I hope that any future changes would be discussed with industry.”

He said any changes to gambling duties could have a knock-on effect on the Northern Powerhouse.

He acknowledged that it can be a challenge to attract and retain talented people, and he believed that universities and councils had a role to play in solving this problem.

Mr Flint added: “The business performed very well in 2014/15 and I am pleased that this momentum has not only continued into 2015/2016 but that we have seen accelerated growth in the first half of this financial year.

“As an independent company that has a strong relationship with Sky, we have continued to benefit from our Sky branding and links.

“During the year, we invested in both our technology and mobile platforms from our base in Yorkshire and this has helped drive our strong performance. “

Over the year, the company’s staff numbers increased by 15 per cent to 850 people.

Mr Flint said he hoped to continue to grow the Leeds operation this year.

Tom Dougherty.

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