Online gambling, cigarettes and wine hit by sin taxes increase UK news But budget provides good news for beer and spirits drinkers with unexpected duty freeze But budget provides good news for beer and spirits drinkers with unexpected duty freeze Vices including online gambling, smoking cigarettes and drinking wine or champagne will be hit by increased “sin” taxes, but lovers of beer and spirits escaped with an unexpected duty freeze in Philip Hammond’s budget. The shake-up means: A bottle of wine goes up by 7p, sparkling wine by 10p. Average pack of 20 cigarettes to rise above £10. Online gambling hit by £1bn taxes over five years. The government’s decision earlier this year to cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2 triggered an overhaul of gambling tax, due to take effect in October. Lost revenue from the machine gaming duty levied on FOBTs is expected to cost the exchequer £1.15bn over five years, according to Treasury projections. It will make up for the shortfall by increasing the tax on online casino games from 15% to 21%, raising an estimated £1.25bn over the same period. While the tweaks to gambling tax will cancel each other out fiscally, both FOBT campaigners and online gambling companies are likely to be unhappy. Campaigners against FOBTs, who say they are highly addictive, criticised the decision to postpone FOBT curbs until October last year, as revealed by the Guardian last week. Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, said: “By rolling back on their promises the government are allowing greed to triumph over good as the bookies trouser an additional £900m in revenue. “The new secretary of state has let down not only his predecessors who campaigned for urgent change, but all the gambling charities, reformers and addicts who were relying on him not to bow to the will of the Treasury.” The chancellor surprised the beer and pubs industry by cancelling duty hikes on beer and spirits, which were expected to see a 3.4% rise in line with inflation, but wine duty will continue to rise. Jackie Parker, the national chairman of real ale enthusiasts’ group Camra, said the freeze would “no doubt go some way to keeping the British pub-going tradition affordable”. The Wine and Spirit Trade Association said distillers would welcome the cancellation of a rise in spirits duty but said winemakers would be hit with an extra £90m bill. “It actively undermines a sector that has been hardest hit since the Brexit referendum and will be thoroughly unwelcome for the 33 million consumers of the nation’s most popular alcoholic drink,” said the association’s chief executive, Miles Beale. The tobacco escalator, under which tax on cigarettes goes up by inflation plus 2% each year, will continue, meaning the average cost of a packet of 20 cigarettes will rise above £10 for the first time.