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Spain Moves Tax Goalposts For E-Gaming Firms

by Jason Gorringe,, London

28 May 2012

The Spanish tax authority has required that online operators with customers in Spain pay back-taxes under two historic laws that previously were not applied to offshore online gaming.

One company that has fallen foul of Spain's reinterpretation of these laws is Sportingbet, which has disclosed that Spanish tax authorities were seeking payment of fresh tax liabilities on income derived from the provision of services to the Spanish market during the period January 2009 to May 2011.

Industry giant Bwin too announced that it had received an assessment on a similar basis, but had resolved the matter with a EUR33m payment.

Bwin explained in a statement that the Spanish tax authority contacted all of the major online gaming operators some weeks ago and made clear that, in their opinion, any online operator that has ever accepted customers from Spain has an obligation to pay Spanish taxes under two laws, one dating from 1966 and the other from 1977. Previously these laws were applied to operators based in Spain carrying out offline gaming activities and to certain kinds of bets (other than fixed odd bets).

With the operators eager to secure a license from Spanish authorities in June, Sportingbet is thought likely to join Bwin in complying with the request. For its part, Bwin said it hoped the payment of tax dues would fulfil all the requirements of Spanish authorities, enabling it to secure a license.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining the new possibilities that offshore e-commerce open up for business, and analysing the offshore jurisdictions that have led the way in offering professional e-commerce regimes for international business, with a particular focus on e-gaming, is available in the Lowtax Library at and a description of the report can be seen at
TAGS: tax | business | Gibraltar | commerce | law | offshore e-commerce | offshore | e-commerce | gambling | legislation | offshore e-gaming | Spain

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