EP passes new online gambling resolution

Telco

Though a bill passed by the Hungarian parliament in late June which lays the groundwork for online gaming regulation and taxation has been criticized by industry insiders as prohibitively expensive, a European Parliament resolution passed today in Brussels may make the market a bit more attractive to would-be providers.

A European Union Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCo) committee report, with primary sponsor MEP Ashley Fox of the UK, submitted today chases up on the European Commission Action Plan on online gambling of October 2012.

The Europe-based industry group Remote Gaming Association (RGA) was quick to analyze the resolution. Advantages from the RGA perspective in the report included the promotion of cooperation between national gambling regulators in EU member states, more transparent licensing procedures and a lightening of administrative procedure. On the minus side, the RGA claims that barriers to market entry have not been lifted and that attempts to defend against match-fixing in professional sports are unfair to gambling website owners/operators.

In June, Hungary’s parliament introduced a licensing procedure for internet gambling in the country: A five-year license would be rewarded to a given gaming provider for a fee of HUF 100 million per year plus a 20% bi-weekly tax on net earnings and a 2.5% fee to be assessed quarterly. The bill appears to have been fashioned on the precedent established by France in summer 2010 regulating and taxing the online gambling industry there, a model subsequently followed by central governments such as those of Spain, Greece, Germany and Italy, among others.

Although government estimates placed the potential government income on such taxation to be as high as HUF 10 billion in annual revenue, no licenses have been tendered or licenses granted to operators.

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