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Spanish Regulation Bill Clears its First Hurdle: the Council

10 February 2011 by admin

Online gambling fans in Spain have cause for some cheer. Looks like Italy is not the only European country making changes to online gambling. The long awaited and slowly but steadily moving bill to regulate, license and tax online gambling in Spain has passed in the Council of Ministers. This brings regulated online gambling one step closer to reality.

While it is true that Spaniards have already been gambling online through online sports betting, online poker and other forms of online casino games. In 2010 it was found that there are more than 370,000 Spaniards who gamble online in some form; and that number is up 33% from 2009. Seeing this, the Spanish government decided to look into regulating this activity to protect their citizens from bad business encounters. But as the First Vice-President has said, online gambling is not taxed yet in Spain yet it is an activity that is regularly happening.

The Spanish Association of Internet Bettors (AEDAPI), which is the organization’s name in English, has found that the Spanish online gambling market is worth €315 million. And that is the 2010 number. That €315 million is a 19% increase from 2009. When broken down into the individual types of online gambling that Spain wants to tax, all three sections showed growth from 2009 to 2010. Online poker showed the most growth with a 26% increase, while online sports betting showed a 21% increase and all other forms of online gambling only showed a 14% increase. With figures like that it is no wonder the Spanish government wants to regulate and tax online gambling.

Hence the creation of the bill that would regulate and tax online poker, online sports betting and other forms of online casino gambling. To properly license the online gambling business a regulatory body would be needed, and this bill creates one: the Comision del Juego, which in English would be the Spanish Gaming Commission. Online gambling businesses would seek licenses through the Comision del Juego; and would also be regulated by this commission to make sure that all licensed online gambling businesses are following the established regulations. Taxes would then be collected as well. Oh, and fines for violations would be collected too—cannot forget those, especially when the fines would range from €100,000 up to €50 million. It is the government’s expectation for the commission to also handle requests for any online casino business to advertise or hold promotional activities.

And while all of this sounds good for Spain, the regulation bill has only cleared the Council of Ministers. It still has to go to Parliament, which is expected to happen within the next few weeks or so. Once the bill makes it through Parliament it will move on to the Senate. And once out of the Senate the regulation bill will then go to the European Commission.

One Response to “Spanish Regulation Bill Clears its First Hurdle: the Council”

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