This week Gaming Law Pills brings news on two American States taking steps towards sports betting legalization and the decision of Spanish Parliament to slash tax rates for online gambling operators.
US sports betting: Ohio and Colorado towards legalization
Sport betting is no longer illegal at the federal level as the United States Supreme Court approved the legalization of sports betting. Since such decision, a number of US States started to position themselves to take advantage of it. It is still not clear how rapid the change will be, although the spreading of legalization seems inevitable. Several States, including Delaware and New Jersey, have already successfully passed sports betting laws and started to offer sports bets. Others are trying to do so including:
- Colorado: both the Republican and the Democratic party have been pushing for legalization. Colorado is normally a progressive State and the possible legalization of sports betting would require serious changes because there are currently significant restrictions on areas in which casinos can be located, and gambling laws would have to be changed significantly for this to go ahead. If it comes to a vote, the law will require a two-thirds majority before a voter referendum can be approved.
- Ohio: State lawmakers have begun planning for passage of a yet to be defined proposal to legalize sports betting. A bipartisan bill to legalize sports betting in Ohio was introduced to the State’s senate on Thursday July 12, 2018. This is going to be the first of several bills which would be proposed by the lawmakers of the State willing to make sports betting a reality. What should be discussed in detail, however, is the tax on revenues which would be applied to operators. According to Ohio’s Constitution, the current tax rate is set at 33% on other casino games, which could turn out undermining the potential market, if sports betting does not allow a lower percentage.
As the US betting industry develops, there are challenges and opportunities also for companies which have been competing to improve customer experience for years in Europe that could benefit of their primary positions in sports betting and digital innovation.
Tax reduction for online gaming operators in Spain
The Spanish Parliament has approved the 2018 Budget with a 5% reduction in online gambling tax for licensed operators that applies to betting exchanges, fixed-odds betting and horse betting licensed by the national regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ).
According to major stakeholders from the sector, operators will have the chance to make better offers to the players who should prefer not to visit illegal sites. The latest reports worldwide show that all areas of online gambling are expanding, particularly with sports betting so these new measures would also lead to more tax being collected.
In the opinion of the Spanish gambling regulator, the Spanish gambling market is expected to grow its licensing program this year, welcoming new operators to the industry. Indeed, as reported by our colleague Paula Gonzalez, new online gaming and betting licenses are now available in Spain.
With new vendors coming to the market, it’s projected that the Spanish gambling industry could grow up considerably. The changes to the regulation were effective from 1 July 2018 and have been widely welcomed by companies with interests in the Spanish market who have long strongly opposed the previous tax rates for online operators.