iGB Affiliate 55 Feb/Mar - Page 90

EUROPEAN REGULATION In conjunction with Chris Elliott of Wiggin LLP, iGaming Business provides a regulatory snapshot of iGaming markets across the EU. This includes regulated products and legalised operator types within each country, and any impending market updates. AUSTRIA Regulated Gambling Products: Sports betting, horse race betting, poker, casino, bingo and lottery. Operator Type: Licences for sports betting and horse race betting are available for private operators on a regional basis within Austria whereas poker, casino, bingo and lottery are controlled by the monopoly, Austria Lotteries. Status: A recent appeal challenging Austrian tax legislation is seen as a test case by other offshore operators targeting Austrian business. The Member State has proposed changes to its regulations (notably a ban on in-play betting) to help curb match fixing, measures which the Austrian Bookmakers Association has agreed to implement. The Austrian government recently put forward a proposal to block unlicensed offshore operators targeting the country, although next steps are unclear. BELGIUM Regulated Gambling Products: Sports betting, horse race betting, poker, casino, bingo and lottery. Operator Type: All products are available to private operators save for lotteries, which are reserved exclusively for the monopoly provider. However, online operators need to partner up with local casinos in order to satisfy the land-based establishment requirement; or alternatively, apply for one of the 34 retail licences (F1 licences) which can be extended to cover online (F1+ licence). Status: The new Belgian government has published a coalition agreement which proposes to increase the number of landbased casinos from 9 to 11. Accordingly, this will allow online operators to team up with the new casinos to offer casino 84 iGB Affiliate Issue 55 FEB/MAR 2016 products online. Further restrictions and a tightening of the legal framework is also proposed, with three decrees having been notified to the EC. The regulator recently introduced rules to prevent live casino products being offered to players unless the dealers are physically in Belgium. It is uncertain if the proposed changes will be implemented this year. The potential for EC infringement proceedings remains. The Belgian Gaming Commission recently announced its decision to suspend virtual sports from 1 June, as well as proposals to introduce new advertising restrictions. BULGARIA Regulated Gambling Products: Sports betting, horse race betting, poker, casino, bingo and lottery (excluding raffles and instant lottery games). Operator Type: All products are available to private operators save for lotteries, which are reserved exclusively for the monopoly provider. Status: Bulgaria’s Gambling Act became law on 1 July 2012 but licences were not available until mid-2013 as further implementing legislation needed to be in force. Any operator from an EU/EEA jurisdiction or the Swiss Confederation can apply for a licence. The Bulgarian regulator has subsequently issued licences, including to a number of international operators, and recently announced plans to remove the restriction on Gibraltar-based applicants. The change from a turnover to a GGR tax-based system has prompted a number of operators to apply for a local licence. CROATIA Regulated Gambling Products: Sports betting, horse race betting, poker, casino, bingo and lottery. Operator Type: All products are available to private operators save for lotteries, which are reserved exclusively for the monopoly provider. Status: Following Croatia’s accession to the EU in July 2013, it was understood it would submit new legislation which was compatible with European law. However, on 5 March 2014 the Croatian government notified a draft bill which seeks to embolden the position of the monopoly and local operators. Only land-based casinos and betting operators can apply for a licence pursuant to the draft bill. ISP blocking is also proposed. The receipt of a Detailed Opinion from the EC stalled the legislative process and there have been no developments since. CYPRUS Regulated Gambling Products: Sports betting and lottery. Operator Type: OPAP have a monopoly over lottery operations and only sports betting licences are available to private operators. Status: Cyprus regulated online betting in July 2012. The government published a blacklist and warned local ISP providers that they would face fines for failures to block sites offering unlicensed gambling products. Moves in late 2013 to update the laws further have not resulted in any substantial changes. CZECH REPUBLIC Regulated Gambling Products: Sports betting, horse racing betting and lottery. Operator Type: Online gaming is not expressly regulated but a limited number of local licences are available for Czech companies with Czech share ownership.