Three years after provisions were made to liberalize internet gambling in Spain, the country’s regulatory framework is finally beginning to solidify. Recent months have seen numerous rumors hinting at a first draft of the country’s new gambling laws, but according to an article recently published in European Gaming Lawyer magazine, the Spanish government has in fact made very little progress.
The public’s current understanding of upcoming changes to Spanish gambling laws come from information published in Januray 2010 by local newspaper El Mundo, which claimed to have gotten ahold of a leaked document from Spain’s Secretaría de Estado de Hacienda entitled “Game regulation – general overview”.
This document outlined a possible licensing scheme not unlike those used by other EU operators. Non-Spanish licensees would be required to maintain a permanent presence in Spain, and all computer servers would have to be connected to a “Central Game Unit” which would allow regulators to keep tabs on all internet gambling activities.
The document also included several possible frameworks for a tax scheme, but these varied widely, ranging from a 8.5 per cent tax on each bet to a 10 per cent tax on the win. Rumors point to the 10 per cent tax on wins, but which system will actually be implemented is still not clear.
The European Gaming Lawyer article blames LAE (the nation’s lottery monopoly) for the delay. LAE is currently undergoing a massive restructuring process. This process includes the creation of a nationwide infrastructure for regulating online gambling sites in Spain. Until the restructuring is complete, however, little progress can be made in drafting new gambling laws and finally moving forward to liberalize the nation’s online gambling industry.