Upcoming changes in the gambling industry across the world. Europe – Part II
Belgium to forbid pervasive sports betting ads
Gambling advertisements are expected to see more limitations after this past January Belgian Gaming Commission BGC released a report criticizing pervasive advertising during major football Jupiler Pro League tournament in Belgium last year. The BCG report emphasized a strong effect betting promotions had on football fans and pointed out that 14 out of 18 Pro League football clubs were sponsored by gambling operators. A study conducted by BGC revealed that the average total daily amount wagered during regular-season games was €3.34m, and went up to €4.27m per day during the playoff sessions.
The watchdog is considering undertaking a variety of measures to address the issue including imposing a total ban on sponsorship agreements between gambling operators and professional sports clubs.
Latvia bids for higher taxes on operators and self-exclusion
In a bid to channel more revenue from gambling operations for the state budget, Latvian parliament approved proposals to raise certain land-based gaming taxes in the country. As of January, a number of Latvia’s land-based gambling establishments started paying higher fees for operating slot machines and roulette tables.
Thus, the annual fee imposed on operating each slot machine in Latvia went up from €4,164 to €5,172. Operating roulette or other table games will amount to an annual fee of €28,080 per gaming table, which is almost a 20% increase from the previous €23,400.
Latvia will also see an expansion of a self-exclusion scheme introduced as a part of the new Gambling and Lotteries Law that took effect on January 01, 2020. According to the program, the Latvian citizens will now be able to exclude themselves from gambling for 12 months.
Bulgaria bans private lotteries
In an attempt to improve the collection of taxes from the gambling industry, on February 07 Bulgaria’s parliament introduced legal amendments disallowing private lottery operators and taking full control of lottery gaming by the state-owned Bulgarian Sports Totalizator. However, raffle, bingo, keno and slot machines are not going to be affected by the amendment.
The private lottery operators’ licenses will be revoked, and they will have 30 days to provide the State Commission on Gambling with an unconditional and irrevocable bank guarantee for unpaid prizes.
This measure is deemed to put an end to corrupt practices of tax evasion by unlicensed private lottery operations. The bill was elaborated after the government found out that private lottery operators had evaded paying a whopping US$118m in taxes over the past six years. Vasil Bozhkov, the nation’s largest private gambling operator was recently arrested in the UAE on tax evasion charges and is reported to be awaiting extradition.
Denmark to impose stricter rules on gaming promotions
As of January 01, 2020, a set of new terms and conditions issued by Denmark Gambling Authority on online gambling promotions and marketing became effective. The aim of this measure is to ensure that promotions are not misleading, stated clearly and correspond to the operators’ actual offers. According to the issued regulations, operators cannot offer players welcome bonuses in the amount that exceeds 1,000 Kr. In addition, the promotional measures must not include any wagering requirements. In a situation where a wagering requirement is a part of the promotional offer, the operator must clearly state the currency in which the game is to be played prior to any withdrawals of winnings from the account.
Aiming to raise additional DKK 150m (£17.1m) revenue, the Danish government has been pushing to increase an online gaming tax on operators’ GGR from 20% to 28%. Originally, the proposals were included in the government’s 2020 financial budget but were put off not to be enforced until January 2021. It is expected that operators will transfer some of the tax burdens on to their customers, which could discourage some punters from playing on Danish sites and prompting them to seek more attractive options from other internationally licensed operators.
Would you like to learn more about the upcoming changes in European gambling, please see the following: