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Leading Online Gambling Operators Quit European Markets

By: Adam Baker, Tuesday November 27th 2012
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Two leading online gambling operators have announced decisions to exit from two different European markets, though for different reasons. Betfair will be leaving the Greek market, whereas will be leaving the Dutch market.

Betfair, the popular betting exchange, has stated that it will withdraw from the Greek online gambling market because of lack of clarity on the gambling regulation there. Betfair had sought information from the Greek Government on the cost and conditions attached to the gambling licenses that it planned to issue to operators. Since no clear information was forthcoming, the legal advisors of Betfair suggested that the operator exit from the market. The Betfair statement went on to say that the gambling legislation proposed by Greece was inconsistent with European law. The final value of the payments to be made for the licenses and the taxes that may be levied on historical revenues can make the market economically unattractive. The Greek Gambling Commission had announced earlier this month that firms operating in the country without a permit would face financial penalties and criminal sanctions. Hence Betfair has deemed it prudent to withdraw. This decision is expected to cost Betfair around £13 million in revenues in the current fiscal year. Betfair also spoke out against the failure of the European Commission to prevent Greece’s protectionist behavior. Last month Betfair had withdrawn from the German market due to a sports event stakes tax which came into force in July 2012.

According to market reports digital entertainment has complied with a directive from the Netherlands Gambling Authority asking unlicensed online gambling operators to withdraw from the market. This has been issued in order to facilitate new online gambling regulation that is likely to be established soon. The report stated that the directive was issued to about forty online gambling operators active in the Dutch market. Twenty operators, including Ladbrokes and Unibet apart from, have complied. The tacit understanding seems to be that the operators who accede to the Dutch authority’s directive will be given preference when licenses are eventually awarded. will also to exit the Argentinean province of Misiones online gambling market. The Provincial Institute of Lottery and Casinos of Misiones announced that it had revoked the license of online gambling operator’s company in Argentina due to a breach of contract. This was disputed by the Director of Corporate Communications for bwin, John Shepherd. Shepherd said that the regulator had informed Gambling Compliance that contract discussions broke down over the cost of maintaining a license. Bwin did not renew its license purely for commercial reasons.

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