Very unpleasant news for all operators wishing to run online casinos in Spain has just surfaced, weeks before the first licensees are scheduled to be given out. The Spanish government changed the rules of the games and now wants all potential operators to cough up four years worth of backdated taxes.
Some sources estimate that these changes to Spanish gambling laws could prove to be costly indeed even for the largest operators. Sportingbet could be potentially pay up to EUR 50 million, Bwin.party – EUR 60 million, and Poker Stars a whopping EUR 200 million for the right to operate on Spanish turf.
Spain gambling news report that Poker Stars is considering the possibilities to find the necessary funds, while other industry players could find it very difficult to accommodate the Spanish government’s demands and withdraw their respective applications.
The Spanish Gaming Act was passed last year and only required operators to hold operating licenses from the start of 2012. The current delay was caused by the country’s regulator. Operators were allowed to run without the licenses until they were ready, with a common understanding that they would be taxed dating back to July 2011.
Now, there’s a big difference between the 1 year back tax requirement and a 4 year one. The new deal is explained by the changes on Spanish political Everest. The requirement will certainly have serious effects on the financial and business strategy plans of potential gambling licensees.
It’s also rumored that the Spanish government has already ordered the Bureau of Fraud Investigation to assess what operators are liable to pay the back taxes dating all the way back to 2008, when Spain didn’t have any online gambling laws.