Top takeaways from DLA Piper gambling event 2019

The DLA Piper gambling event 2019 brought great insights on the future of the gaming market in Spain, Italy, Portugal, The Netherlands and Romania.

We need to thank the 70+ clients and friends that attended the 3rd edition of our DLA Piper gambling event at our brand new office.

The panel of jurisdictions with DLA Piper gambling experts

We started the event with a panel that I moderated in which my DLA Piper colleagues

  • Raluca Tudoroiu from Romania outlined the difficulties due to the recent tax increase that however is expected to be challenged, also because it is part of a law introducing tax increases in a number of sectors. Romanian authorities are taking strict actions against unlicensed operators and hopefully a better regulatory environment will be established after challenges;
  • Christopher Büller from Sweden outlined the rush performed by the regulator to have all the applying entities licensed, but now rules might be fine-tuned in line with the UK regulatory model. Also rules on gambling advertising will be set up, but the goal is not to introduce a complete ban, but to set obligations that can better protect players;
  • António Moura Portugal from Portugal informed us that a complete reshaping of Portuguese gambling laws is espected to occur in the next 6 months. Such changes are expected to include also lower taxes and more liberal rules in terms of gaming offering to enable the entrance in the market of new players. Advertising rules are going to be part of the picture, but will set rules on transparency and fairness;
  • Richard van Schaik from The Netherlands informed us that the 5th of February 2019 will be the BIG DAY for Dutch gambling regulations since the Dutch Parliament will vote on the privatization of 14 casinos and on the Dutch online gambling act which is expected to set up the Dutch gambling license regime. This would be a major change for The Netherlands that was waited for the last decade. It is unclear whether operators that are currently in breach of Dutch gambling regulations will be somehow penalized, but according to Richard, it is more likely that their application will be delayed rather than rejected.
  • I discussed briefly about Italy, the tax increase whose scope is quite uncertain and the gambling advertising ban that will be challenged and whose scope will be clarified by guidelines from AgCom to be issued in the coming days. My final comment is that – regardless of the recent actions from the Government against gambling – they need the tax entries from the gambling sector and therefore a right balance shall be identified.

The keynote speech from the Spanish gambling regulator

In the second part of the seminar, we had our Spanish DLA Piper expert, Paula Gonzalez de Castejón, that interviewed Juan Espinosa García, the head of the Spanish gambling authority. It was a long interview and Mr. Espinosa was rich of thoughtful insights on how he sees the future of the sector, which can be summarized as follows:

  • the Spanish market has reached an appropriate size and the launch of new types of products is not expected to make much of a difference, but sharing liquidity was a major improvement for Spain that is a small poker market;
  • a gambling advertising ban is not the right move, figures on gambling addiction are very low and do not justify such prohibition. Rather it will be necessary to regulate the practice in order to limit aggressive and repetitive gambling advertisements;
  • there was a strong fight against the black market which in the majority of the cases was successful in relation to transactions that are traceable. Additional measures will be introduced against players that use VPNs to connect to unlicensed websites;
  • they are going to focus in the coming months on responsible gaming and players’ identification rules since they are important to create a safe environment for the growth of the market.

I take this opportunity to thank once again our clients and colleagues to attend the event and see you at the ICE Gaming conference today!

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Giulio Coraggio

I am the head of the Italian Technology sector and the global head of the IoT and Gaming and Gambling groups at the world-leading law firm DLA Piper. IoT and artificial intelligence influencer and FinTech and blockchain expert, finding solutions to what's next for our clients' success.

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