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Spain Loses $25 Million in Untaxed Online Casino Gambling


by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
February 13, 2009

             One of the arguments usually presented in the ongoing attempts to have online casino gambling legalized in the U.S. is the tax revenue it could generate. It is the hope of internet gambling advocates that a taxed and regulated industry would not only help the economy thrive, but that it would also benefit the gambler who would no longer have to seek out shady establishments to wager online. It would seem that the regulated internet casino industry in Spain has not been a shining example of this concept, however, having lost $25 million in uncharged taxes on online casinos.

                According to reports from the Spanish Association of Internet Bettors, $250 million is gambling revenue from Spain continues to go toward offshore, unregulated and unlicensed online casinos. Since Devember of 2007, when the Spanish Congress of Deputies voted for a bill to tax and regulate online gambling websites, the industry has taken one step forward and two backward.

                While the bill outlined the nation’s intent to regulate and tax online casinos, the Spanish Association of Internet Bettors is curious as to why an estimated $250 million in gambling revenue continues to go to offshore establishments. The Spanish National Lottery charges a 10 percent tax rate, which if applied to internet gambling, would result in $25 million in annual tax revenue.

                The Spanish government has since decided that it would advance its plans to place online gaming terminals in convenience stores and gas stations, increasing the public online casinos from 4,000 to an estimated 11,000. The betting association has opined that despite the legislation, it will be another full year before the nation sees a taxed and regulated online casino industry.

                The last attempt made to regulate the industry was in June of 2008, when the Gambling Sectoral Commission held a conference with members of the Minister of the Interior, the Secretary of the State of the Information Society, the Tax Agency, the National Entity of Lotteries and Betting as well as a number of autonomous communities. The laid-out game plan has since been delayed significantly, according to the Swiss-Presse.