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Gov't makes last-minute changes to online poker regulations
Regulation of the online gaming market in Spain is due to take effect from the 1st of June, with a number of major companies expected to recieve their licences to operate during the next few weeks.
Such companies include PokerStars; 888; Ladbrokes and bwin.party, but things look likely to change following an eleventh-hour change demanded by the Spanish Government after seeing an opportunity to bring some much needed revenue to their coffers.
The proposed change means that retrospective taxes will now be applied to all of the earning from these companies dating back as far as 2008, with this being likely to deter large operators from the Spanish market. PokerStars’ demand is expected to reach €200 million, while bwin.party would have to pay around €60 million.
If some of these larger players decide to pull out of the Spanish market altogether it may mena that smaller companies with lower tax liabilities - such as Ladbrokes and William Hill - would be able to enter the market in a much more dominant position than previously thought.
Spain's handling of the situation surrounding the regulation of online poker has attracted criticism from the sector, with many companies having had to jump through numerous hurdles and wait for months in order to aquire their licences.
Companies such as PKR; Paddypower Poker; Unibet and Bodog have already pulled out of the Spanish market following the application of a 25% tax on all operating profits, and it now looks likely that further companies will be deterred from continuing their interests here.