Is the Gambling Industry Spain’s Only Economic Hope?
It’s no surprise that the Spanish economy has been experiencing a hard time recently. Given the country’s financial crisis that gripped in 2009, some of today’s economic indicators still make for hopeless reading. For instance, youth unemployment is running at over 30 percent while over 10 percent of the population lives under the poverty line. Many business sectors are also in complete stagnation.
Yet, one distinguished exception to this is the gambling market, which goes from strength to strength – particularly in the field of online gambling.
It may be that the economic difficulties endured by many are what is turning them to gambling as a money-making exercise. But, whatever the reason, the numbers speak for themselves. With a population reaching 46.5 million and an estimated €1.9 billion annually spent on gambling – equal almost €480 per head and an amount that is the equivalent of 15 percent of the average household income.
History and Laws on Gambling in Spain
Spaniards are known for their passion for gambling. Actually, most forms of gambling have been legal in Spain since 1977. Since then, gambling was considered a legal activity in Spain. But it was only in 2011 that the Spanish gambling environment changed forever with the Spanish Gambling Act application.
Before the Act was even installed, the state’s 17 sovereign communities, Aragon, Andalusia, Asturias, the Basque Country, the Balearic Islands, Castile, the Canary Islands, Catalonia, Valencia, etc. were all in charge of their own betting regulations. These self-governing communities had the means to legislate over any and all types of gambling.
The Act’s goal wasn’t to take away power from independent parties but rather to create balance and implement a common law on betting.
According to lawmakers, gambling was rapidly becoming a matter that had to be managed on a national rather than regional level.
The acts legalize all forms of gambling taking place on land and online. It also serves as a supervisor of all lottery operators like the ONCE and LAE. Mostly, any gambling advertisement forms are only allowed and legal if they have been processed and put through the approval process. According to the Act, all tragaperras casino operators who wish to offer their services to Spaniards have to obtain a permit from the state’s National Gambling Commission. These permits come with a fee included, and they are non-transferrable.
One thing Spain definitely seems to be getting right is curbing illegal online platforms and regulating online gambling. Actually, it seems that more than 50 tragaperras platforms have chosen to willingly shut down and follow the legal records to gain access to the Spanish online gambling industry.
Online operators who have chosen to disregard the laws and continue illicit providing their services are currently facing legal action. These platforms have now been provided with a cease to discontinue an order, and only the only which choose to continue and overlook the warnings are facing legal charges.
Online Slots and Lotteries
Lotto remains Spain’s favorite gambling game, according to CEJUEGO. Though the group only interviewed 7,000 individuals for its recent report, most of them responded to appreciating gratis slots and lotteries more than other casino games.
Spaniards run a state lottery with lots of tournaments throughout the year. For instance, the Spanish Christmas Lottery collects almost €2.3 billion by selling €20 tickets to members around the state.
On the other hand, online slots enjoy huge popularity in Spain, with games inspired by Spanish legends like Gonzo’s Quest relishing the most success. Online slots are also incredibly easy to play and don’t even necessitate special skills.
While most hard-hitters partake in lotteries offered by state-operated platforms, the best slots can be found at private casinos.
Are Gambling Winnings Taxed in Spain?
One of the serious things about online gambling is wondering whether or not players have to announce their gambling winnings or even pay fees on them. Unfortunately for Spanish hard-hitters, the law requires that all tax winnings must be declared as income.
Those with lottery winnings above €2,500 are required to pay a 20 percent fee on those winnings. The advantage is that the lawmakers have made allowance for players to deduct their losses from their winnings. As such, if you’re a citizen of Spain, you are required by law to declare your gambling winnings as taxable revenue, but you will be allowed to deduct losses from those winnings.
On the other hand, Casino operators have been struggling with heavy tax payments of 25 percent yearly on their gross gaming income. The good news is the lawmakers have announced that they’re considering reducing the tax from 25 to 20 percent for casino operators. This change is purely business, as the online gambling industry within Spain is blossoming and rapidly flourishing. In an effort to encourage more operators to offer their services within the state, lawmakers are willing to cut taxes.
Currently, Spanish politicians face a difficult decision. They don’t know whether to stick with gambling taxation or twist. They are now playing by the rules, and as it seems, for a country that faced considerable economic damage, there is a temptation not to interfere with an industry that is doing so great. What’s more, ethical concerns are rising – as is the pressure to ramp up regulations. It’s still interesting to observe how lawmakers will tackle this difficult balancing act.
In the meantime, as long operators, regulators, and game developers continue to take steps to better protect consumers, then concerns about the morals of gambling can be put aside.
Players will only bet online, but by permitting and regulating the sector, they can do so at an online platform where they are properly protected. What’s more, Spanish people love online gambling, and they equate it to any other form of entertainment. With such a great attitude, it’s no wonder why some of the most successful gambling operators have warrants to operate in Spain.