Tuesday May 22, 2012 : SPORTINGBET JOINS THE QUEUE TO PAY SPANISH BACK-TAX (Update)
 
Euro 17.2 million due
 
Following the announcement yesterday that Bwin.Party is to pay the retro-active Spanish online gambling tax, rival group Sportingbet has announced that it will also pay up, assessing that this will cost the company Euro 14 million, plus surcharges and interest of up to Euro 3.2 million.
 
"The payment of these taxes maximises the likelihood of securing a Spanish eGaming licence," the company said in a statement Tuesday.
 
Like Bwin.Party, Sportingbet was contacted by the Spanish tax authority, which made clear that, in its opinion, any online operator that has ever accepted revenues from Spanish customers has an obligation to pay Spanish taxes under two laws, one dating from 1966 and the other from 1977.
 
"Prior to the recent approach from the Spanish authorities, these laws had been applied to operators based in Spain carrying out offline gaming activities and to certain kinds of bets (other than fixed odd bets)," Sportingbet explains.
 
In order to meet the taxation requirement, Sportingbet has completed the sale of GBP 15 million principal amount of the company's 7 percent Convertible Bonds due 2016. These Bonds will be issued on Friday 25 May and are on the same terms as, and will form a single series with, the GBP 65 million convertible bonds issued on 8 June 2011 and will be convertible into Ordinary Shares at a conversion price of GBP 0.4775.
 
ISM Capital advised on the sale of the Bonds to institutional investors, supported strongly by existing bondholders.
 
Upon receipt of a licence, Sportingbet intends to immediately apply to Commercial Court no.10 in Madrid to cancel the current injunction over its Spanish facing business imposed at the request of rivals Codere.
 
"Obtaining a Spanish eGaming licence will mark the next step in the Company's stated strategy of increasing the proportion of the Group's gaming revenue from regulated markets," the Sportingbet statement asserts.