posted 1/14/11 : Aragon pre-empts the more collective regulatory trend at national level.
Despite moves to treat the regulation of online gambling in Spain at a more collective national level, the autonomous region of Aragon has done its own thing and approved new betting legalization that embraces internet gambling in its provisions.
After some tentative moves at the autonomous provincial level in years past, the Spanish government last year committed to a national licensing and control regime for internet gambling.
Late in 2010 draft proposals were debated and the then minister for the economy Elena Salgado announced that the drafting stage of a new regulatory regime had been largely accomplished, with estimates that taxes from a legalised online gambling industry could deliver another Euro 200 million per annum to government coffers.
The bill apparently proposes two different taxation levels; one for online sportsbetting, and another for other forms of internet gambling, including online poker and casino games.
Taxation on general internet gambling has been based on gross gaming revenue, but in the case of sports betting, where much of the debate has taken place, the rate suggested has been a flat 10 percent of turnover.
This has raised the hackles of trade associations and operators, who have warned of the dangers it poses to tens of millions in sponsorship and advertising Euros, and the limits it may place on the ability of Spanish licensed operators to effectively compete.
Trade associations like EGBA, the RGA and Spain's AEDAPI have all called for further consultation on the sports betting tax issue.
Tax disagreements to one side, it is thought that the regulations will create a controlling commission, prohibit Spanish citizens from accessing unlicensed online casinos and prevent advertising from unauthorised operators.
Punitive fines are envisaged for unlicensed operators accessing the market and it appears likely that the new regime will push the envelope in trying to protect Spanish licensees whilst staying within EU law…but the proposals will have to pass European Commission inspection.
There are reported moves afoot to privatise the state monopoly Loterias y Apuestas del Estado (LAE).