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Spain’s Ceuta Region Joins Online Gaming Race

26th November 2009 10:15 am GMT

The race is on amongst the autonomous regions of Spain to become the first to license and regulate online gaming, with the local government of Ceuta the latest to announce new legislation which it hopes will make the region an attractive base for operators.

The governing council of Ceuta on Tuesday approved the submission of new gambling regulations to the Council of State following a public consultation process during which the proposed legislation was widely supported, and the Council is expected to approve the legislation within one month with the law being enacted shortly thereafter.

Under the new rules, the Treasury Department will become the authority responsible for licensing gambling operators and ensuring compliance with regulations designed to safeguard minors and other vulnerable groups.

The proposed legislation requires operators to prevent betting by those who have requested to be excluded from gambling, as well employees, agents and immediate family members of gambling operators and the sports people, referees and other parties who can influence the outcome of a competition.

The law will approve pari-mutuel, fixed odds and lay betting with a minimum stake of €1 for single bets and €0.20 for multiples online. The payback ratio to players will also be set at a minimum 70% with a maximum commission level on lay bets of 10%.

In order to apply for a license, operators will need to be of Spanish nationality or that of another European member state, be tax domiciled in Ceuta, and be able to prove financial solvency and technical ability with a track record in providing betting services.

A fee of €20,000 will be payable to the Ceuta treasury by those wishing to register to organise and market bets with a further €200,000 surety payable by licence holders, reduced to €100,000 for those who can provide an insurance of €300,000 to cover any non-payment of prize money to players.

Operators will also be required to report any winnings exceeding €3,005 to the Treasury Department along with the winner's name and tax ID.

The new legislation will also see betting shops be authorised in the region with rules restricting access by minors and a requirement to clearly highlight the risks of gambling addiction.

The government of Ceuta hopes to enact the legislation in January 2010 and to attract online gaming operators with tax incentives in order to achieve the maximum benefit for the local economy.

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