PLANS to impose a gaming tax on offshore gambling companies operating in the UK could affect thousands of jobs in Gibraltar.

Under proposed legal changes, firms would be required to pay a transaction tax on online gaming.

Gibraltar has long been an attractive haven for gaming companies because taxation on profits can be up to 15 per cent lower than in the UK.

But under the terms of the Remote Gaming Bill the tax contribution of UK-based operators would be slashed, with offshore companies forced to make up the shortfall.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo recently met with the UK Minister for Tourism, John Penrose, to challenge the introduction of the tax.

“There are issues on the horizon for Gibraltar,” Picardo said. “Those issues affect businesses in Gibraltar, and it is not always the usual common enemy that is responsible.”

Gibraltar has slowly become one of the key centres for e-Gaming in Europe.

It is home to over 20 gaming companies with around 2,000 staff working in the industry.

In particular it is home to the world’s largest gaming business after PartyGaming aquired its main rival Bet and Win (BWIN) in a deal worth 1.95bn euros last year.

The new company has its HQ in Gibraltar where it employs around 500 staff.

Under current legislation, operators based in Britain are licensed by the Gambling Commission, while operators licensed in Europe, including Gibraltar, are still permitted to advertise in the UK under the terms of their local license.