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Gambling News from Europe

By: Fabian Rictor, Friday August 19th 2011
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In the last few days there have been news items from various European countries that are related to gambling. Not all of them are related to online gambling, but even those items will make interesting reading for online casino players.

In Germany the province of Schleswig-Holstein had broken away from the remaining fifteen provinces on the issue of legalizing online gambling. It had come up with a liberalized proposal that had received the thumbs up not only from the European Commission (EC) but also from leading online gambling operators and their advocacy groups. Meanwhile, the joint proposal from the remaining states was turned down by the EC as violating European Union laws and principles. Schleswig-Holstein was to pass its online gambling proposal this month and the entire industry in Europe was looking forward to the event. Now, online gambling operators wanting to see a regulatory framework established in Schleswig-Holstein will have to wait for some more time. The German Press Agency has released a news item stating that Schleswig-Holstein has decided to hold further talks with the other provinces on the issue of a new State Gambling Treaty and will defer the decision on its acting alone till at least September 2011. This has come as a surprise because there was considerable variance between the two approaches. Schleswig-Holstein had proposed unlimited licenses and a 20% tax on gross profits, whereas the joint proposal had only seven licenses and 16.66% tax on turnover. The current German State Gambling Treaty expires on January 1, 2012.

Spain is committed to the legalization and regulation of online gambling. A study conducted by reveals that the benefits that will accrue to Spain because of this are more than expected earlier. The regulatory regime will lead to additional tax and license revenues amounting to €137.5 million in 2012 alone. In addition the increase in employment figures could be as much as 120,000 jobs. The number of online gamblers in Spain has increased by 33% from 2009 to 2010. In absolute terms this increased amounted to 370,000 players.

The news from the UK pertains to gambling in general and refers to a proposed amendment to the UK Gambling Act 2005 announced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Currently, the Gambling Commission is allowed to share information with only sports governing bodies listed in the Gambling Act. The amendment seeks to include the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and some other sports bodies in the Gambling Act list. The objective is to share information on suspicious betting related activity with them in order to preserve the integrity of the Olympic Games to be held in London next year. This has become necessary following the rumors and allegations made earlier this year in connection with major football and tennis events.

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