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A regulatory framework for remote/interactive gambling has been approved and adopted by Spain's Congress of Deputies.
With over 100 amendments during its journey to approval, the Act creates a legal framework, sets a tax regime for gambling online, establishes a licensing system for operators wanting to operate in Spain and includes a number of safeguards to protect minors and problem gamblers.
A Council for Gaming Policy is to be created representing each of the autonomous regions and a National Gaming Commission formed to act as the gambling sector regulator.
A transitory period of a year, until Jan 1,2012, will allow companies to legalise their situation and activities should they be currently sponsoring or advertising in the press.
The Act creates a licensing system that Internet gambling firms must obtain if they want to operate in Spain. The licence is valid for 18 months.
Deputy of CiU in Congress, Josep Sánchez Llibre expressed satisfaction with the "consensus" reached in the processing of the new law and has indicated that the "great benefit from this new sort of game will be the autonomous communities, because much of the new tax proceeds will be distributed to the autonomous regions".
Trade associations RGA and AEDAPI welcomed the adoption of the Act but still have reservations on key areas of the legislation.
The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) says the legislation goes against the EU principles as it restricts operators from offering their products across the EU if they don’t obtain a Spanish licence. It also still expresses concern over the tax rate deeming it too high compared to other European countries.
Clive Hawkswood , Chief Executive of the RGA, said: “We appreciate the fact that, unlike some other European countries, Spain has not adopted legislation in blatant breach of EU law. We believe that this legislation is a step in the right direction but it’s still too early to make an assessment. We hope that, through the implementing decrees, the Spanish Government won’t miss the opportunity to create a valid model in Europe”.
It is understood that the EU will need to put its final stamp of approval on the Act and that other relevant legislative issues be published before implementation can begin.
It is estimated that licence applications and approvals will be implemented towards the end of 2011 into 2012.
Source: InfoPowa News