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European Online Gambling Regulations – June 2015 UpdatePublished June 10, 2015 by Mike P
William Hill leads the major international gambling operators that have left Romania following a regulatory shakeup. Also covered in this update is news on Portugal and Italy.
Online gambling regulations are constantly evolving all over the world. Rarely a week goes by without the announcement of impending change on the horizon. Romania is the latest country to alter its legislation, prompting a number of international gambling operators to leave the market. News from Portugal, Italy, Denmark, and the UK will also feature in this special update.
Romania’s National Gambling Office (NGO) has implemented a new framework that will shake up the future of its online gambling market. A fully regulated Romanian online gambling market will require operators to fulfil a steep entry requirement if they want to obtain a licence.
Many operators have responded in shock that the NGO is demanding back taxes to the tune of 20% of all revenue generated from Romanian players in the past five years. An in-depth breakdown of revenue by online gambling channels will be required for potential applicants to initiate the licencing process.
William Hill has wasted no time in signalling its intent to the NGO by exiting the Romanian market on Tuesday 2 June. All Romanian player accounts were suspended, with all affiliates partners from within the country instructed to remove William Hill-branded marketing materials.
bet365 was quicker to exit the market, choosing to withdraw back in autumn 2014. Ladbrokes then elected to depart Romania in January of this year. These operators have been extremely pre-emptive in taking action, as they had until the end of 2015 to apply for a Romanian online gambling licence.
Portugal is still settling down after electing to dismantle the state of online gambling monopoly of Santa Casa de la Misericordia in February. Foreign operators have been able to submit licence applications ahead of the market opening up.
However, the appetite for licences remains unclear. Portugal is intending to hold licensees to a taxation system that can cost them from 15% to 30%. Operators generating income of €10 million or more will have to play the maximum tax rate of 30%.
The Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies (AAMS) is the government body entrusted with regulating the Italian online gambling market. Much of the work undertaken to shape the market occurred from 2006 to 2007, during which time 33 remote gaming licences were granted and the Finance Act 2007 was implemented. A blacklist of more than 500 foreign operators was also compiled.
The Comunitaria Decree was later introduced in February 2011 to open up the market further. Aspiring licence-holders seeking to enter Italy can submit an application that will be review for approval or denial over a three-month timeframe by AAMS.
UK and Denmark Team Up
Denmark’s online gambling regulatory body, Spillemyndigheden, partnered with its UK equivalent, the Gambling Commission, to share information from June 2015 onwards. The aim is for Spillemyndigheden to understand how to provide a higher level of protection to Danish gamers.
Spillemyndigheden spoke of how the UK and Denmark were working on a cross-border basis to not only protect players, but also to address international money laundering. Information will be shared between both organisations in what is a two-way relationship.