The current rate of betting tax is 6.75% on off-course winning bets. But punters have to pay 9p in the pound; the extra deductions are understood to cover the bookmakers’ costs of collecting the duty.

Betting tax is to be replaced by a 15% tax on bookmakers’ profits.

The intention of the Government is to encourage the major bookmaking firms to abandon their no-tax, off-shore havens. As a result, gambling turnover would be expected to increase and with it the Treasury’s slice of the action, at 15% of the bookies’ profits.