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Interview with Santiago Asensi, Partner, Asensi Abogados

January 22, 2009 2009

Time to tackle ‘crime scenarios’ in online gambling

Bulletbusiness.com’s Legal Gaming Special

Few months ago, it was being pointed out that Spain was in midst of discussions about how to regulate the online gambling sector at a national level and in accordance with the EU law and principles.

Assessing the situation as of today, Santiago Asensi, Partner, Asensi Abogados, says in accordance with the Law 56/07 on measures to develop the Information Society, Spain is preparing a new gaming law, which would be totally focused on the online market.

“The Sectorial Gaming Commission, the body that groups all the Spanish authorities in charge of the gaming regulations, will meet in the first quarter of 2009 to review the first draft of the Bill. This draft is being prepared by LAE (The State Lotteries Monopoly) and shortly will be circulated between the different administrations,” said Asensi, who is scheduled to speak during Bulletbusiness’ 3rd Legal Gaming in Europe Summit 2009, to be held in London on 26-27 January.

Asensi also spoke about some of the key issues related to Spain. Excerpts:

On governments losing out on tax revenues and players being unprotected: The fact that the governments have not showed interest in regulating this market but rather putting barriers in order to protect their monopolies has damaged the three principal agents of this business:

i) Consumers that in many occasions have not found the due protection brought by consumers associations and courts where to find their rights covered;

ii) Licenced operators missing out on opportunities to launch their products in many markets; and

iii) Governments loosing the opportunity to obtain income from this industry.

I would say that the governments have damaged the whole gaming sector by restricting and putting barriers to online gaming. To restrict the market to their own monopolies under the argument of consumer protection is a poor and a vague excuse that nobody who is in this industry can believe in.

On how can operators benefit in the time to come: I like to be an optimist and I do believe that this is just a question of time. Most of the sectors of the gaming industry keep growing wealthy even in times of crisis. If we take a look at the legal situation in the past and we compare it with the current one, there should be no doubt that there have been many achievements.

Unfortunately, this is not applicable to all jurisdictions yet but the balance must be considered as positive.

On key to opening up markets being as much about taxation as regulation: My view is that sooner than later this scenario will change or, it would be better to say that it will keep changing. It’s changing in countries like France or Spain and this will also happen with the rest of the countries of the EU.

Furthermore, European jurisdictions should learn from the UK regulation, white-listing those jurisdictions that reach the proper levels of technical standards.

On cooperation among national gaming regulators: Let me be ironic: it’s great to know that our politicians are about to reach the conclusion that this would be the best way to combat all type of crimes that can be related to this industry. If you want to prevent thefts in a dark street, the best measure to take will be always to set up lights in that street instead of increasing the penalty for theft. And this simple example is absolutely applicable to prevent crime scenarios in the online industry.

Role of Bullet Business and Gaminglaw.eu partnership going forward: I believe this is a great opportunity for both parties in order to establish a strong collaboration, which will benefit clients of both entities and the end users of Gaminglaw.eu. This partnership has been built on the basis of many years of experience and the knowledge of the industry. The result must be always good.

We have put our best efforts looking forward that this idea works and I do not find a single reason why it shouldn’t.

Ritesh Gupta


3rd Legal Gaming in Europe Summit 2009

Bulletbusiness’ 3rd Legal Gaming in Europe Summit 2009 is scheduled to take place in London on 26-27 January.

For more information visit: http://www.bulletbusiness.com/legaleurope09/agenda.shtml



Ben Satchwell at +44207 375 7163 or email ben@bulletbusiness.com

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