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EC Says It Will Not Target Gibraltar's Gaming Regime

Jason Gorringe, London

10 June 2013

The European Commission has said that it will not target Gibraltar's online gaming operators in its crackdown on tax evasion, nor will it conduct an analysis of the impact of the territory's gambling industry on the European job market.

The statement was made in response to a complaint from Belgian MEP Marc Tarabella that Gibraltar's gaming companies engage in anti-competitive behavior.

Algirdas Šemeta, European Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-Fraud, Audit and Statistics, declared that "Member States are entitled to establish the tax regimes they see fit, so long as these comply with EU law."

He added: "The Commission is not currently taking any actions in the area of direct taxation specifically targeting online gambling operators established in Gibraltar, nor is the Commission planning to undertake an impact analysis of gambling operations in Gibraltar."

The news comes in the same week that Gibraltar's Chief Minister met British Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street. Commenting on the meeting, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said: "Gibraltar has been one of the leaders in the fight against money laundering, tax evasion and fraud. Indeed, as far back as February 2002 Gibraltar committed itself to transparency and effective exchange of information to the OECD. Moreover, Gibraltar as an EU jurisdiction, already complies with all EU rules to combat money laundering, tax evasion and fraud. We therefore have nothing to fear and all to gain from international initiatives to stamp out tax evasion and we would be very pleased indeed to finally see a level playfield of all other relevant jurisdictions."

He went on to say: "In the run up to the G8 meetings, I have already written to the Prime Minister setting out Gibraltar’s commitment to continue leading on this international agenda, including our transposition of the EU Directive on exchange of information on tax matters. We are also actively working on the OECD multilateral treaty on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters which has equivalent effect on an international basis."

Earlier this year Fabian Picardo, speaking to the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, said that Gibraltar was leading the way in regulating the fast-growing gaming industry.

TAGS: tax | European Commission | Gibraltar | law | gambling | Europe

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