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The Economic Crime Levy

Gambling Commission's guidance on the Economic Crime Levy and how licensed casino operators can prepare for it.

Published: 30 March 2023

Last updated: 19 October 2023

This version was printed or saved on: 29 May 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/guidance/the-economic-crime-levy

Introduction

The Economic Crime Levy (ECL) is an annual charge on entities who are supervised under the Money Laundering Regulations (MLR) (opens new tab) and whose United Kingdom (UK) revenue is greater than £10.2 million per year.

The levy is being collected by the following three statutory anti-money laundering (AML) supervisors:

Each of these bodies already has responsibility for supervising businesses in certain sectors of the economy for the purposes of preventing money laundering, and will be responsible for collecting the levy from them.

The Commission will therefore be collecting the ECL from licensed casino operators.

The legal requirement for licensed casino operators to pay the ECL (where applicable) is stipulated under the Finance Act 2022 (opens in new tab).

The ECL is part of the government’s wider objective, outlined in the 2019 to 2022 Economic Crime Plan (ECP) (opens in new tab), to develop a long-term Sustainable Resourcing Model (SRM) to tackle economic crime. As one part of this SRM, and supported by ongoing government funding, the levy will aim to raise £100 million per year from the AML-regulated sector to pay for government initiatives outlined in the ECP to help tackle money laundering.

The government believes it is fair and proportionate that as the sector most exposed to money laundering risk, the AML-regulated sector should be the principal contributor to the reform initiatives that will benefit them and help make the UK a safer place for them to do business.

Licensed casino operators are now required to make yearly submissions to the Commission in relation to the levy.

Who must pay the ECL?

All licensed casino operators will be asked to submit their annual returns as part of this process. This includes Business-to-Business (B2B) casinos such as casino game host licence holders, as these casinos (along with other remote and non-remote casino licence holders) are regulated for AML purposes under The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (opens in new tab).

You must pay the ECL to the Commission if you are a licensed casino operator and your UK revenue is greater than £10.2 million in the financial year (pro-rated).

Band sizes and fees

The Economic Crime Levy (ECL) will be paid as an annual fixed fee determined by the size banding into which a Money Laundering Regulations (MLR) supervised entity falls. This is based on their United Kingdom (UK) revenue in their accounting period ending in the previous financial year.

Band sizes

Band Sizes
ECL band size UK revenue
Small does not exceed £10.2 million
Medium greater than £10.2 million but does not exceed £36 million
Large greater than £36 million but does not exceed £1 billion
Very large exceeds £1 billion

Licensed casino operators must take all their UK revenue into account, and not just that derived from their casino gambling activity and services, when determining into which levy band they fall.

Fees for the ECL

Fee amounts
Band size ECL fee
Small No fee
Medium £10,000
Large £36,000
Very large £250,000

The levy was first charged on entities that were MLR supervised at any time during the financial year from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023. The amount payable will be determined by reference to their size based on their UK revenue from accounting periods ending in that year.

Amounts will be payable by 30 September following the end of each financial year.

How the Economic Crime Levy fee is calculated

Calculating United Kingdom (UK) revenue

Licensed casino operators must take all their UK revenue into account, and not just that derived from their casino gambling activity and services, when determining into which levy band they fall.

UK revenue is defined in section 57 of the Finance Act 2022. This states that, for the purposes of determining a person’s UK revenue in a relevant accounting period, the following applies:

Finance Act 2022 - Part 3 - Section 57

For the purposes of determining a person’s UK revenue in a relevant accounting period, the following applies:

(2) In the case of a UK resident person, the person’s UK revenue is all of that person’s revenue after deducting so much of their revenue as, on a just and reasonable apportionment, is attributable to the activities of any permanent establishment of the person in a territory outside the United Kingdom.

(3) In the case of a non-UK resident person, the person’s UK revenue is so much of the person’s revenue as, on a just and reasonable apportionment, is attributable to activities of any permanent establishment of the person in the United Kingdom (subject to (4) and (5)).

(4) Paragraph (5) applies to a non-UK resident person who, by virtue of regulation 9(4) of the Money Laundering Regulations (casinos which provide facilities for remote gambling), is regarded for the purpose of those regulations as carrying on business in the United Kingdom.

(5) The person’s UK revenue also includes so much of the person’s revenue as—

  1. is attributable, on a just and reasonable apportionment, to activities in respect of which a charge to remote gaming duty arises (see section 155 of FA 2014), and
  2. is not included in the person’s UK revenue by virtue of subsection (3).

(6) References to a “permanent establishment” of a person are to be read—

  1. in the case of a company, in accordance with Chapter 2 of Part 24 of CTA 2010;
  2. in any other case, in accordance with that Chapter but as if the person were a company.

(7) References to a person’s “revenue” in a relevant accounting period are (subject to (9)) references to—

  1. the person’s turnover for that period, and
  2. any other amounts (not included within turnover) which, in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice (“GAAP”), are recognised as revenue in the person’s profit and loss account or income statement for the accounting period.

(8) Where a person does not draw up accounts for a relevant accounting period in accordance with GAAP, the reference in (7)(b) to any amounts which in accordance with GAAP are recognised as revenue in the person’s profit and loss account or income statement for the accounting period is to be read as a reference to any amounts which would be so recognised if the person had drawn up such accounts for that accounting period.

(9) The following are to be ignored in determining a person’s revenue for the purposes of this Part—

  1. a distribution within the meaning of CTA 2010 that—
    1. is received from a company that is connected with that person in accordance with sections 1122 and 1123 of CTA 2010, and
    2. is not made in respect of shares or other assets, profits on the sale of which would be a trading receipt of that person;
  2. such other descriptions of revenue as may be specified in regulations made by the Treasury (Note that no descriptions of revenue have been specified in regulations made by Treasury at this stage).

Relevant accounting period

For the purposes of the Economic Crime Levy (ECL), UK revenue is calculated for the relevant accounting period that ends in or on each financial year.

Example

An operator’s accounting period runs from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022. This accounting period ends within the financial year of 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023. The operator will therefore use the accounting period of 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022 to calculate their UK revenue for the financial year of 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

If there are no accounting periods ending in the financial year, the relevant accounting period is taken as the accounting period that ends during the period of three months beginning with the end of the financial year. This will only affect new businesses who start during a financial year where their first accounting period ends between April and June.

Example

An operator’s first accounting period runs from 01 June 2022 to 30 May 2023. There are no accounting periods ending in the financial year 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, so the relevant accounting period is taken as the accounting period which ends during the three months after the end of the financial year. The operator must use their accounting period of 01 June 2022 to 30 May 2023 to calculate their UK revenue for the financial year of 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

Reduced or partial accounting periods

The amount you need to pay may be reduced if you carry out regulated activities for only part of the financial year. This reduction is calculated using a daily apportionment of the time you are supervised for Money Laundering Regulations (MLR).

If there are no accounting periods ending within the financial year, the relevant accounting period is taken as the accounting period that ends within 3 months of the end of the financial year. This will only affect new businesses who start during a financial year where their first accounting period ends between April and June.

If your accounting period is shorter than 12 months, the ECL band sizes are adjusted accordingly. This apportionment is calculated using days.

Example

If your UK revenue was £34 million for a 9-month accounting period, you would fall within the large band (£36 million × (9 ÷ 12) = £27 million large band minimum). The ECL payable must then be calculated using days, for example 270 ÷ 365 × £36,000 = £26,630.

Example

An operator was only licensed as a casino operator for 200 days of a 365-day financial year. The operator falls within the £10,000 medium entity band. The operator will pay a reduced ECL, calculated as (200 ÷ 365) × £10,000 = £5,479.

Where United Kingdom (UK) revenue does not exceed £10.2 million in the relevant accounting period

You must submit returns on a yearly basis even if you do not meet the threshold for paying the levy.

For example, if you register and submit a return as a medium-sized entity in the first year, you will need to pay the levy. If you do not meet the revenue threshold in a following year, you will need to submit a return, but not pay the levy.

To complete your annual return, see the Submitting an annual return section in this guidance.

Financial statements and non-United Kingdom (UK) revenue

We require information on UK revenue only and so would not be able to accept any information showing non-UK revenue.

If your published financial statements do not explicitly show the required information, you will need to provide the UK revenue figure for the relevant period, which will need to be signed off by the Finance Director, Chief Financial Officer or Chief Executive Officer of the business.

Where a casino licence is not held anymore

The levy applies to all casino gambling licence holders that were licensed during the relevant financial year. The amount that is payable is based on the level of United Kingdom (UK) revenue that is generated by your business in the relevant financial year. Amounts will be payable following the end of each financial year.

You will still need to complete and submit the form if your business held a casino licence and was trading during the relevant financial year (making adjustments as per the notes in the annual return form if it was not a full year).

The amount you needed to pay may be reduced if you carried out regulated activities for only part of the financial year.

Where a casino licence was held but the business was not trading or operating

The payment of any levy does not apply if the casino operator was licensed by us but was not trading within the relevant financial year.

A Nil Return is still required to be submitted in the circumstances, along with any supporting documentation that we have requested and the inclusion of additional notes stating that the business was licensed but was not trading during that period (for example).

Payment of the levy where multiple licences are held

Where multiple licenses are held, for example a remote and non-remote casino licence, the levy will apply to each licence held (amount to be paid based upon United Kingdom (UK) revenue generated during the relevant period).

Submitting an annual return

You must pay the Economic Crime Levy (ECL) to the Gambling Commission if you are a licensed casino operator and your United Kingdom (UK) revenue is greater than £10.2 million in the financial year (pro-rated).

If you are in the small band (UK revenue does not exceed £10.2 million), you will still need to complete a return even though no payment will be made.

You will need to submit a return and pay the levy every year that your UK revenue exceeds the £10.2 million threshold. You will need to declare your UK revenue and pay your liability based on the bandings.

Casinos are required to make yearly submissions only to the Commission. Do not:

You must make yearly submissions to the Commission even if, for example, HMRC also supervises some of your business activities.

How to submit a return

An annual return should be completed that will allow you to report:

You should submit annual returns on a yearly basis, even if you do not meet the threshold for paying the ECL in that year (a Nil Return).

The relevant form to complete the return is The Economic Crime Levy Annual Return (opens in new tab).

To complete your annual return, you will also need to send a copy of your annual accounts, highlighting the UK revenue figure to economiccrimelevy@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

For businesses who do not publish their income statement in the financial statements, this will need to be included as an extract with any annual accounts that are sent to us.

When you need to pay

You must pay the levy by 30 September each year.

What you must do now

You must notify the Commission that you are liable to pay the levy. Further information on how to do this will be provided shortly.

You should calculate which ECL band you fall into to understand the amount of ECL you must pay by 30 September of each year.

Bank details

Our bank details are:

Bank
Barclays
Account name
THE GAMBLING COMMISSION ECL
Sort code
20-05-75
Account number
13166708
IBAN
GB45BARC20057513166708
Swift code
BARCGB22

The Commission will continue to publish guidance on the ECL, which will include how to submit ECL returns to the Commission and pay the ECL to the Commission. Further guidance will be published in April, including how to submit a return.

HMRC and the Financial Conduct Authority will publish their own guidance on the ECL. If either HMRC or the FCA are your collection authority, you should follow their guidance.

Further information

You can email queries to the Economic Crime Levy Team on economiccrimelevy@gamblingcommission.gov.uk .

What happens if the Economic Crime Levy is not paid

Under Part 9 of The Economic Crime (Anti-Money Laundering) Levy Regulations 2022 (opens in new tab), the Gambling Commission has the power to impose a financial penalty where a casino operator fails to:

Appeals process

Under Part 10 of The Economic Crime (Anti-Money Laundering) Levy Regulations 2022 (opens in new tab), casino operators have a statutory right to appeal to the tribunal for a number of decisions made by the Gambling Commission in respect of the levy. These are as follows:

An appeal must be made to the tribunal by the date which is:

An appeal may be made after the aforementioned periods if the tribunal gives permission to do so.

An appeal relating to an amount of levy due from a casino operator cannot be considered by the tribunal unless the amount the Commission has considered to be due has been paid or deposited with the Commission.

The exception to this is when:

Either

And