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Online Gambling Regulation News From UK And Greece

By: Fabian Rictor, Tuesday January 22nd 2013
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Activity in online gambling regulation is always news for the discerning player. The news from UK is about the progress in the new online gambling regulation proposed and is of direct interest to online casino players from the country. The news from Europe concerns increased opposition to Greece’s proposed regulatory mechanism.

According to sources within the government the new online gambling regulations in the UK will come into effect from December 2014, almost two years down the line. The key factor in the proposal is the point of sale regulation that will require offshore online gambling operators to procure secondary licenses and pay taxes in the UK for revenues generated in the country. It is likely that UK operators will not have to pay online gambling tax on revenues generated overseas. The rate of tax, one of the sticky points in the discussions so far, is as yet uncertain.

The online gambling industry wants the government to substantially lower the current UK gambling tax rate of 15% of gross profits. William Hill had asked the independent professional services provider Deloittes to assess the repercussions of this tax rate and the report stated that it would be counter-productive and would lead to further flight of business from the country. The Treasury is as yet silent on the tax rate stating that it is closely working with both the industry and government. The long date set indicates that much work yet needs to be done.

In Europe, the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has on behalf of the online gambling industry written to the Greek President, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, indicating that legal action may be initiated unless the government amends the proposed regulatory framework to make it compliant with EU and Greek law. Under the proposed scheme the Greek government intends to provide exclusive online gambling rights to OPAP, continuing with the monopolistic situation. In order to implement its proposal, the Greek government has begun to take action against private online gambling operators, which includes ISP and payments blocking.
The legal measures being considered by RGA include filing a petition in Greece against OPAP being granted monopoly gambling rights, bringing actions before the Greek Courts and filing a competition law complaint to the European Commission. Clive Hawkswood, chief executive officer of RGA, said that the association wanted to work in a constructive manner with the Greek Government. But he added, “However, if the Greek Government and Gaming Commission continue without any legitimate justification to block major European private operators from the online market, then those operators will have no choice but to consider challenging them further in the courts.” The claims could run into tens of millions of euros.

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