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Spanish Online Gambling Bill Receives Suggestions

4 April 2011 by admin

Here is what I like about the government in Spain: they made the draft of the Spanish online gambling bill public. This way any interested parties—citizens or political groups—could check it out. And not only could they check it out, but they could submit suggestions and possible amendments. In total more than 200 suggestions and amendments were received by the Asociación Española de Apostadores por Internetedit (AEDAPI), which is the Spanish regulating body for gambling in Spain.

Some suggestions for amendments were positive ones while others were aimed at trying to hurt the success of online gambling in Spain. Seems the US is not the only country with nay-sayers. But those behind the online gambling bill take the large number of suggestions as a positive:

“The fact that a large number of amendments have been submitted by the different political groups on the one hand indicates that there is still much work to do but on the other, that we are going in the right direction to build a positive framework,” said the president of AEDAPI, Sacha Michaud.

One of the suggestions made to the AEDAPI that was seen as harmful to the bill was to impose a black period on any online gambling operator who applied for a license in Spain. A black period is when an online casino ceases operating in the country imposing the black period, in this case Spain, from the time the bill goes into effect until a license is approved. Black periods are strongly opposed by online gambling operators—no small wonder why. They are so strongly opposed that in some cases black periods are removed from online gambling legislation as was the case recently with the Greek bill.

But not only did the Spanish nay-sayers want to impose a black period, they also wanted all online gambling operators to clear their databases of all accounts—or at least all accounts with Spanish IP addresses—and do no advertising or promoting during the black period. This is a very harsh action to take, and I applaud the AEDAPI on listing this as a bad suggestion. It is likely to push Spanish players to unregulated online casinos, causing them to play unprotected.

Here is the thing about operators in Spain: 90% of online gambling operators in Spain are legit which means they submit to regular audits to make sure that their online gambling operation is not operating in a shady manner.

Now on to some positive suggestions.

This one comes from groups in Spain’s parliament. They put forth the suggestion for an amendment that would lower the tax rate from 25%. Now you would think that a government who is looking at regulating online gambling to generate revenue, in addition to protecting their citizens, would be to take the highest tax rate possible. Not so in this case. In Europe 25% is a high tax rate of online casino operators to pay. And the writers behind the Spanish online gambling bill recognize that if they want to be competitive and if they want to stand a chance of bringing in respectable operators, they need to offer a lower tax rate.

Also suggested was a different process for issuing licenses. The bill originally was going to use a tender process because it would bring in a large amount of revenue right away. But political groups saw that it might keep out some operators who they hope would take an interest in the Spanish market because of a high price tag on a license. So an administrative process was suggested, which AEDAPI looks favorably on.

On the whole AEDAPI has taken a favorable perspective on the suggestion process. So while seeing legalized online gambling in Spain is still a ways off, they are making forward progress.

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