Judicious Players Must Keep an Eye on These Authorities

20 September 2012 – By Cristian Dragomir

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Online gambling regulatory authorities are an integral component of the internet gaming industry and for this reason, online casino operators, governments and players must keep an eye on the developments regarding these authorities. Recently, the Lottery and Gaming Authority of Malta (LGA) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral cooperation on broad ranging issues with the Jersey Gambling Commission. The memorandum includes exchanging information and providing assistance in the investigation of online gambling operators between these two jurisdictions. Also, there are going to be discussions regarding the development of common measures on responsible gaming and enhancement of player protection.

The dispute between Antigua and Barbuda and the US Government have been lasting for a few years. The old dispute has again been activated by the island nation and Antigua’s Finance Minister has threatened unspecified sanctions against the USA if the Government in Washington did not lift the “trade blackade” that prevents Antigua and Barbuda from hosting online gambling. The Finance Minister hopes that now the US government would honor the World Trade Organization rulings in online gambling.

In Europe, the Greek Fiance Ministry and the European Commision have discussed the level of gambling taxes to be implemented from January 1, 2013. After this meeting, the two parts reached an agreement and therefore OPAP, the Greek online gambling monopoly, will apply a flat gaming tax on player winnings of 10% across the online and land gambling sectors and a 30% tax on gross earnings. The agreed rates are higher than other European Union competitors where the level is between 15% and 25% tax on gross earnings. In present day, online casino players in Greece are taxed at 10% above €100 but from 2013 players will pay this tax from the first euro. Analysts estimate that the new taxes would decrease OPAP’s next year net profit by €280 million. After announcing the new agreed rates, the share value of OPAP has immediately fallen. The expected privatization of OPAP is not looking good in these conditions and analysts think it would be better for the state not to go ahead with this sale.

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