Spain is on the cusp of publishing new draft laws to regulate online gaming.
The Sectorial Gaming Commission, a grouping of the gaming authorities of the country’s 17 autonomous regions and its two federal gaming authorities, the State Lotteries Monopoly and National Gaming Board, is expected next week to call a meeting to discuss the draft regulation.
This follows a wait of more than three years for the draft rules to be published.
However the fate of any draft gaming regulation in Europe's fifth largest economy will be decided by tax provisions in the proposed rules, with regional regulators likely to veto national laws in favour of attempts at local regulation if the national schemes does not give them a large enough share of tax revenue compared to federal government.
As a result of both the protracted wait and doubts over their potential tax share, some autonomous regions, such as the Canary Islands, are believed to have already initiated the drafting of regulation locally.
Santiago Asensi, a gaming lawyer at law firm Asensi Abogados, said: “They know it doesn’t make any sense for Spain to regulate online gaming 17 times over, but it’s a question of money. If money doesn’t arrive proportionally [to the regions], then there will be barriers to national regulation.”
The draft laws will not contain specific details on taxation, which is likely to lead to heated debate as the regulation takes shape over 2010.
Asensi added that Autonomous Regions’ freedom to regulate online gaming is “a grey area,” as although they possess the authority to regulate gaming within their own region, it is unclear under which circumstances online gaming is considered to cross or not to cross regional boundaries.