European news: Bulgaria changes tack; Denmark release figures; PokerStars to discuss Spanish plans

eu flagBulgaria’s government are to halve the country’s proposed gambling industry tax rate after realizing that no foreign companies would pay the 15 percent of stakes originally proposed. Instead operators will now pay 6 to 8 percent of stakes after a source from the Parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee told Bulgaria on AIR: “No foreign operator would come to Bulgaria, because the taxation would be very high. In practice the tax in Bulgaria is twice bigger that in France or Malta”. A Blacklist will still be in place for firms that don’t have a licence with ISPs facing £8,500 fines if they fail to prevent players using banned sites.

Denmark has published the first set of figures for the country’s regulated online gambling industry with gross gaming revenue (GGR) reaching DKK 470 million in the first quarter. This was made up of DKK 285 million from sports betting and DKK 185 million from online casino and the figures were based on tax paid by firms. It means no actual revenue figures came from the companies themselves and the Danish Gambling Authority themselves admitted the figures are far from completely accurate. Q1 figures were used to reach estimates for the entire year of DKK 1.135 billion for betting and DKK 735 million for online casino meaning a figure for the whole market of DKK 1.87 billion.

The country’s land-based market stayed stable with some small gains seen in both the casino and gaming machine sectors. GGR for machines was DKK 460 million for Q1 (DKK 440m in Q1 2011) with the market expected to hit DKK 1.840 billion for the year – comparing favorably with DKK 1.785 billion for 2011. Casinos posted GGR of DKK 80 million for the first quarter (DKK 75 million last year) with the entire year likely to stay steady at DKK 320 million.

PokerStars has invited two groups of players to a meeting in which they will outline their plans for the regulated Spanish market. Poker-Red reports that both they and affiliate site Educapoker have been invited to send two representatives to a meeting in Barcelona on May 21. In that meeting PokerStars will communicate plans for the market with the subjects including the VIP club, cash tables, MTT, promotions, Sit ‘n’ Go’s, Stars Poker Tour and anything else they deem appropriate to discuss. Spain will start to hand out gambling industry licences from June 1 with PokerStars likely to be very interested.