Elena Salgado, The Second Deputy Prime Minister of Spain, promised that the sale of a 30% stake in the state-owned Loterias y Apuestas del Estado (LAE) will be transparent and subject to all regulations of the National Securities Market (CNMV). The proceeds will be used to reduce the country’s budget deficit along with other financial woes.
The Minister’s statement answered questions posed by Alvaro Nadal, member of the conservative opposition Partido Popular, who asked for clarification of the proposed sale process. Partido Popular is concerned that lack of transparency in the proposed sale of 30% of Spain’s national lotto may ‘injure the Spanish economy’.
Nadal expressed doubts that the partial sale of LAE can be considered privatization, aiming to promote liberalization of both land based and internet gambling markets. He also raised concerns that the government’s desire to “fast track” the sale will ultimately result in a lower sale price for the 30% stake in the LAE.
The sale of the 30% share of LAE is part of the long overdue reforms of Spanish gambling laws which have been lobbied for by the country’s casino industry. The introduction of the new legislation is only delayed by the ongoing dispute over the division of future lotto taxes. Once, new regulations come into force, the Spanish gambling market will be open to EU companies, and a clear framework will be introduced for the regulation of online gaming including online sportsbooks and casinos.
Salgado once again assured critics that the sale of Loterias y Apuestas del Estado will be transparent, conducted under the supervision of auditors and will follow all the regulations of the National Securities Market (CNMV).
She also explained that all efforts will be taken to get the best possible price, so that the proceeds could reduce public debt starting this year. The minister stressed that the purpose of the sale is also for the overall public good with expected improved efficiency of Lotteries and more jobs.