Online betting regulation in Spain could be postponed another year

Despite the political will to regulate and tax online gambling in Spain, the initiative has slowed considerably, reports Swiss-Presse.

The news outlet reports that the Spanish Association of Internet Bettors (Aedapi) estimates that the benefits for the companies that operate in this sector exceeded Euro 200 million last year, equating to a tax loss of around Euro 20 million at an estimated rate of 10 percent as the issue of regulation drags on.

In December 2007, the Spanish Congress of Representatives approved the Law of Measures to Boost the Information Society. It included the commitment of the government to present a bill to regulate online gambling and betting. More than a year later, there has been little significant progress.

In June 2008, there was a meeting of the Gambling Sectoral Commission, comprised by members of the Minister of the Interior, the Secretary of the State of the Information Society, the Tax Agency, the National Entity of Lotteries and Betting (Onlae) and autonomous communities.

Aedapi spokesmen told Swiss-Presse that it is unlikely that the bill will be finalised until 2009, leaving online gaming in something of a legal limbo.

Benefits derived from online gaming are not presently being taxed and that is one of the aims of the new legislation, he claimed. It was important that a regulation and licensing regime be implemented to obviate the prospect of operators in the Spanish market paying taxes and fees elsewhere; those sources of tax income should remain in Spain, he said.

Companies located abroad pay taxes in their countries of origin, the spokesman said. In the case of British firms, the activity has a 15 percent tax. In the auonomous region of Madrid, online gaming benefits have a more competitive 10 percent tax.

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