Spread Betting is a trading method in which a trader is placing a bet on the price movement of a specific financial instrument. While some people think that spread betting and forex trading are very similar, in fact there are a number of important differences between the two that need to be understood. Perhaps the most important difference between the two types of transactions is that spread betting is recognized as a form of gambling under the law of the United Kingdom while forex trading is officially recognized as a form of speculative investment.
Spread betting is different from the traditional forex trading in various ways. In spread betting, there is no actual exchange of the currency or purchase of the financial instrument that is being traded. Spread betting involves taking a position based on anticipating whether the price of a financial instrument will increase or decrease in the future. This form of betting means an investor will win or lose money based on the marginal variation of a particular outcome and the expected value spread quoted by the spread betting brokerage.
When dealing in any form of official financial speculation, such as forex trading, the investor must pay tax on their profits. Although these sums may seem small on each transaction, they will eventually add up and for the serious trader can end up being a large amount at the end of the year. Spread betting is a little different as the trader never purchases any kind of futures contract but is instead placing a wager as to which way they believe the market is going to move.
The biggest advantage of spread betting is that none of the profits are taxed. Forex trading is not tax-free, as you have to pay capital gains tax, as well as stamp duty. In spread betting, you need to put in only a fraction of the money you trade. This is known as margin trading. This means traders can trade in high value since they have to put down only a fraction of this price as the initial stake, if the price moves in the way desired by the trader the profit can be much more that in forex trading. However, the inverse is also true.
Forex trading being a long established industry is regulated to a higher extent, as compared to spread betting. Traditional forex trading is provided by more established brokerages or financial institutions such as banks that provide accounts in multiple currencies. Because of this it is always best practice when choosing a spread betting provider to always consider going with a regulated brokerage.It is important to note that because spread betting involves high leverage the potential of losses from spread betting can be enlarged.