With elections constantly looming around Europe, naturally the gaming industry is worried what that may spell out for them.
Gambling industry in Europe is a highly lucrative business. It rakes in an estimated EUR 80 billion ($110 billion) on average a year. Is also has a solid annual growth rate of 3%, which translates into billions being added to the big revenue sum every year.
However, the governing laws cause a hindrance to the industry at times. Although recently there have been a number of laws supporting the introduction of online betting sites, there are still a number of issues related to the gaming world.
Good news is that governments’ substantial need for revenues may lead to propelling a slight degree of simplification to the practices of the gaming industry.
UK Elections cause strife with gambling companies
Many businesses in the UK, but also companies that are registered overseas are destined to be affected by the new gaming reforms that are going to take effect imminently.
Machine game operators will suffer quite a bit, as their new tax duty will be rather steep. The UK government will impose a duty of 25% for gaming machines where the sum payable can go over £5 ($8.37) for playing.It will take effect on March 1, 2015.
•UK raises regulation on remote companies
•EU still indecisive on mobile betting
•Europe maintains license issues
Tax rates on Bingo will reduce to 10%, and will be enforced starting from June 30, 2014.
New taxes will be levied on mobile casino firms and are expected to enter force on December 1, 2014. The taxes will be enforced on a consumption basis.
Gaming providers have been advised to keep important personnel duly informed of incoming changes. Additionally, they have also been urged to make sure that in-house systems and gaming practices are kept in line with UK gaming standards.
Furthermore, the entire betting and gambling process will become more stifled and complicated to a certain degree.
Customers will have to provide declarations that prove their real addresses, before any bets are taken. If no declaration is provided, it will be assumed the player comes from the UK.
Operators will also have to carry out further verifications on customers claiming to live outside of the UK.
European Union remains indecisive
The main issue with the EU is that it doesn’t seem to have a clear vision and stance on internet gambling. As a result of its indecision, the EU maintains to address the problem on a per country basis.
The European Commission on the other hand, has implemented legal actions in some way against Cyprus, Czech Republic, Belgium, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.
Internet betting in Spain, France and Italy is far more successful than other nations. Although they are among the most prominent countries that have effectively implemented online gaming, they are still having a hard time coping with other issues associated with gaming on the internet.
Sharing of players’ polls is a prime goal for Italy and Spain, however France has expressed no intentions of participating in such a setup. Unlike France, the two other countries are in dire need for shared liquidity possibilities.
One of the main reasons why European governments have chosen to implement changes to the online gaming sector, has a lot to do with their own deficit problems.
In order to raise money and boost some employment, many countries see mobile betting as the way to go. Current reports indicate 12 countries that have experienced the worst deficit problems in 2012, are all hoping to benefit from the introduction of online gaming.
Licensing issues across Europe
Gaming companies that will wish to offer their services to UK citizens will have to obtain new licenses which will permit them to do so.
In addition, the new licenses come with a new tax that will also be imposed on the companies, regardless of the fact that many are registered offshore. The new tax duty stands at 15%, which will be attributed to the profits made from the operations in the UK.
Germany is also facing similar problems as more than double the amount of companies have applied than there are licenses for online gaming. It is estimated there are over 40 mobile casino gambling firms looking to introduce their services to the German market.
However, since only 20 licenses are on offer for 2014, it looks as if there will quite a few discontent companies that may protest against this policy.
Countries like Serbia and Cyprus are other nations that are also planning to introduce licenses for online gambling in 2014. However, they’re facing some problems.
Firstly, they are in the initial stages of their due diligence of the companies that have applied for the licenses.
Secondly, regulatory and government agencies are gathering the necessary information to see what will work best in their nations. They want to discover and find ways to set the appropriate standards and eventually publicize the regulations.
As always, money is the driving force behind decision making. If mobile gambling promises to bring in additional revenue and promote job opportunities associated with the industry, then there can be no arguments against the gaming business.
However, it appears the main problem lies with the fact that individual governments and the EU are lacking in their decision making.
Policies regarding mobile gaming are not always clear-cut, which leads to over-complication of the entire process.
What ought to be done, is to implement policies that will promote online gambling, help the government and also protect the customer. Currently, the latter is being left out of the picture, as it is often the consumer that suffers the consequences the most.