In this edition of the quarterly Market Monitor, we explore two regulated markets in which the headline tax rates have gone in opposite directions, Spain, where GGR has been cut to 20% from 25%, and the UK, where remote gaming duty will be raised to 21% from 15% from April 2019.
These moves reflect specific political-social backdrops to each of these dot.country markets as opposed to their different stages of maturity. In Spain, legislators were eventually receptive to years of lobbying by industry stakeholders following the emergence of the wider economy from the austerity imposed during the savage downturn of the global financial crisis. In the UK, legislators moved to plug the budget hole left by the cut in the FOBT max stake also due to be imposed from April.
By contrast, authorities' direction of travel over advertising remains the same in all of Europe’s regulated markets. Legislators in Spain (see p4) and Denmark are the latest to propose new restrictions on gambling advertising as more European regulators attempt to address growing public concerns regarding its prevalence.
If many operators had failed to understand the responsibilities which came with the freedom to advertise, they certainly do now. The UK sector has provided a hopefully salutary lesson for others of how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot by repeatedly failing to heed the warning shots and take the self-regulatory steps required. As once governments step in, “reason and logic can take a holiday with prescriptive nonsense”, as respected regulator Richard Schuetz put it in a recent social post.
The discussions being had in Europe on how to protect consumers through advertising and problem gambling controls are however largely conspicuous by their absence in the US at present, with Schuetz also making the point that in order to become sustainable, “[t]he industry should be in front of these issues, not behind.”
Staying with the US, we close this Market Monitor with a look at what pointers, if any, to how sports wagering will roll out there can be gleaned from what was until recently the US’ only regulated market, Nevada.
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