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Online Gambling News from East Europe

By: Joe Valentino, Monday September 19th 2011
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There have been news items from some East European countries this week. It is evident that like the bigger European Union Countries these smaller countries are keen on going their individual ways.

The Budapest Business Journal from Hungary reports that the cash starved government is proposing to increase the tax on online gambling and gambling in general from 2012. This intention to levy heavier taxes was announced in a parliamentary committee on Tuesday by National Economy Ministry Gyargy Matolcsy. In response to a question raised by a committee member, Matolcsy said the proposal for taxing online gambling was under preparation. He did not reveal any information on the amount of the increase but added that there could be some technical difficulties in levying the tax. Matolcsy also commented on the proposal to increase the tax on gambling in general. This would be given effect from November 1, 2011, the bill for which is already before Parliament.

The news from the Ukraine is positive for gambling. In 2009 a sudden and draconian ban on all gambling was imposed in the Ukraine. There are efforts to lift this ban. A Member of Parliament Oleg Tsarev has recently introduced Parliament Bill No. 9098, which proposes to legalize gambling again in the Eastern European country. However the good news will be restricted only to land casino gambling. Land casinos will be allowed in five-star hotels with at least sixty-three rooms, and four star hotels with a minimum of sixty rooms located in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea if the bill is passed. According to Tsarev this proposal will not cost the state anything, because the implementation will be carried out by the applicant operators. On the other hand the state will get increased revenues through investment and taxation. The supporters of this bill claim that the 2009 blanket ban on gambling has not served to diminish problem gambling. The state has lost revenue because the ban has driven gambling underground in the unregulated domain.

A spokesman from the Latvian Gaming Business Association stated that the unlicensed online gambling market in Latvia was worth €17.4 million in 2010 according to the Vostok Report. This statement was made by Arnis Marcinkaviaks in an interview with business information service provider Nozare. Using the casino and gambling codes applied to the payments an estimate was made of the payments made to online gambling sites by the residents of Latvia. The Latvian Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection and the Ministry of Finance have reportedly drafted proposed changes to introduce an online gambling licensing regime in 2012 to take advantage of the prevalent online gambling.

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