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Offshore Gaming Sites Ruled Illegal in Spain


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In a crackdown against online gaming sites that don’t have Spanish-issued
online gambling licenses
, a court in Madrid has ruled that top online
betting and gaming firm Sportingbet must take down its Spanish facing sites,
Miapuesta.com and Miapuesta.es.

The lawsuit was brought against Sportingbet by Spanish online gaming firm
Codere, on grounds of ‘unfair competition’, because being based offshore,
Sportingbet is not liable for Spanish gaming taxes and is thus in breach of
current Spanish gaming license regulations.

The Ruling was a Triumph for Spanish Licensed Sites

In its ruling, the 10th Mercantile Court said that ‘any offering of gaming or
betting activity that has not been granted a prior administrative authorisation
is indisputably prohibited.’ While the news comes as an enormous blow for
offshore gaming sites eager to capitalise on Spain’s highly lucrative online
gambling market, it was a triumph for locally licensed sites.

Said a statement from Codere following the verdict: ‘This ruling is part of a
series of legal actions brought by Codere against a series of online gaming and
betting operators that have been offering their activities from tax havens,
impervious to the Spanish tax authorities, without licenses, without player
protection and without paying taxes in Spain, without generating employment and
harming those entities, which operate or foresee to start operating lawfully in
Spain with their illegal competition.’

The statement went on to say that the issue surrounding unlicensed offshore
gaming sites has finally been acknowledged by Spain’s government and before the
EU Commission.

Why the ruling is so significant is that in one fell swoop it has made the
operation of sites in Spain without a Spanish online gaming license illegal.
This means that operators without Spanish licenses will have to follow the
example of Sportingbet and take down their Spanish-facing sites if they don’t
want to flout Spanish laws.

Millions in Online Gaming Revenues
Will Stay in Spain

For Spain, it means that the flow of hundreds of millions of euros out of the
country into the coffers of offshore gaming sites will effectively cease.
Spanish online gambling fans will have to play at Spanish licensed, and thus
taxed, sites, which means these revenues will be kept in Spain, as will millions
in much-needed taxes.

‘The direct consequences of this judicial decision is
that any companies that have offered online gaming in Spain without the relevant
license would have carried out an activity that is ‘indisputably prohibited’
and, hence, unfair competition vis-a-vis those operators that are lawfully
authorised in Spain,’ continued the Codere statement.

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