Posted 1/21/11 : Tax minister gives the Danish gambling industry his assurance that tax dispute will be resolved this year
The much-delayed opening up of the Danish online gambling market will take place by the autumn of 2011, a meeting of industry managers was told this week by Danish tax minister (Skatteminister), Troels Lund Poulsen.
The government's attempt to move away from the monopolised system epitomised by Danske Spil ran into trouble last year when complaints were made to the European Commission over the disparity in taxes proposed for land gambling operators vs. their internet equivalents.
There has been speculation that the minister sought to reassure the industry after rumours circulated that it may be two years before the dispute is resolved and the market opened up.
The Skatteminister reportedly told the gathering that he had met the European Union minister for competition and emphasised to him the importance of a quick resolution, and that he had received an assurance that the European Commission would cooperate in expediting the process.
The government planned to move as soon as the EC opinion was received, and would open the licensing process with a view to implementation three months later; a possibility that may assuage fears by aspirant licensees that they could be disadvantaged against Danske Spil by a requirement that they stop all business activity with Danish players until their licenses are issued – the so-called ‘black period.'
But until the European Commission reacts, the Danish online gambling initiative remains on ice.