¡No pasaran! That famous anti-Fascist oath (‘They shall not pass!’) was a common phrase during the Spanish Civil War, but it might have been uttered this week by online gaming operators contemplating Spain’s proposed online sports betting tax. A leaked draft of the Spanish gaming law calls for a tax range between 10-20% for sports betting, based on total turnover.
In a joint statement, the Spanish Association of Online Gaming (AEDAPI), the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) expressed their mutual displeasure at the proposed taxation scheme, saying that it would drive Spanish punters to look beyond the licensed providers in search of a better rate of return. One would think that after France’s punitive tax rates resulted in near universal condemnation by that country’s licensed operators and the exact type of digital exodus by French bettors described above, Spanish officials would have proposed something a little less onerous, but here we are.
AEDAPI president Sacha Michaud stated that even if the tax came in at the low end of that 10-20% range, applying the rate to turnover was “not the right way to tax the industry … as it does not allow operators to offer competitive products to consumers.” Instead, Michaud and Co. favor a tax based on gross gaming revenue, which “will bring consistency to the Spanish online gambling market.” Sadly, Michaud neglected to add “Plus, it will make you appear smarter than a French politician”.