R&D Tax Credits for Gambling and Sports Trading

R&D Tax Credits for Gambling and Sports Trading

Background

Gambling has undergone a revolution over the last ten years as way that people gamble has been evolved. This business change has led to an 'arms race' amongst existing bookmakers and new players in the field to undertake R&D projects that seek to develop leading capabilities. Bookmakers are now developing sophisticated real-time sports trading capabilities, online casinos, new software for betting machines and much more. These technologies often have to adhere to rigorous performance, security and regulatory requirements, which gives rise to the need for R&D.

Eligibility Criteria

Main article: Eligibility Criteria
The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have defined R&D Tax Credits. This briefing will help you determine the types of projects undertaken within gambling businesses are eligible and what costs could qualify.
The eligibility criteria apply to all fields of Science and Technology rather than just Gambling and Sports Trading (hence they are quite generic). They state:

Technological Advance in Gambling and Sports Trading

There are many forms for Technological Advance that can occur within projects for gambling departments. For example:
  • A trading development team: developing the algorithms for pricing all possible permutations of events within a tennis match - in a way that is 10% faster than previous algorithms.
  • An online casino team: appreciably improving the performance of their microservice architecture so that hackers are not able to fool the system into thinking that an account has won on an event - thus triggering a false pay-out.
  • A 'betting shop' system team: developing new integrations between systems to enable joined up workflows.

Technological Uncertainty in Gambling and Sports Trading

From our experience, we have found that numerous forms of Technological Uncertainty frequently occur across the different divisions of a gambling company.
In the case of the trading algorithms for the tennis match, it may be that existing algorithms had already been tuned using standard techniques, but this was not able to yield the level of gains required. How to reduce the processing time further, without removing the existing complex logic may be uncertain.
With regards to the 'appreciable' improvement to the online casino's microservice architecture, it may be that there were several possible design decisions, but each may have knock-on consequences to the security and resilience of the platform. How to develop a robust, but performant solution, bringing together all requirements may bring about the Technological Uncertainty.
For the final example, of the 'betting shop', it may be that there is no reference for no such integration in the public domain. How to transform data between the different IDEs, in a secure, performant and robust way could bring about Technological Uncertainty.

Includable Activities

Typically, the development of the customer user interfaces would not be includable, as HMRC would see that as being a functional/business Advance, rather than a Technological one. You can include architecture, development, testing, project management, setup of dev and test environments - which is required to overcome the Technologically Uncertain issues.

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