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Online Gambling Developments Continue Across Europe

Hungary reveals details of proposed online gambling regulations, while rumours abound of Saxony's intentions in Germany.

The governing Fidesz party in Hungary has submitted a tax amendment proposal for the online gambling regulation to parliament. If approved, online gambling operators will be subject to a monthly tax rate of 20% of net revenue from January 1, 2012. Permits would be valid for five years, with a futher five year extension option. Applicants would need a certificate proving their credentials, as well as capital of at least HUF 200m registered in a member state of the European Economic Area.

Horse race betting and online casino card games operated via electronic communication networks are included in the proposal. Fines ranging from HUF10m to 100m will be imposed on illegal operators.

Meanwhile, there is speculation in Germany that the state of Saxony will soon follow in the Schleswig-Holstein's steps by introducing a European Commission approved online gambling regulation. Saxony has a relatively liberal approach to online gambling, and sees that other states will be left behind because of their EC-rejected proposals. While operators had hoped that Schleswig-Holstein's regulation would trigger change across Germany, it was not expected to happen so soon. However, with the existing treaty expiring at the end of this year, time is running out.

Benefits of the newly-introduced gambling regulation in Italy are already being felt, with the value of online casino domains increasing significantly. A six figure sum will buy a doman like, while is for sale at a five figure sum. I-Promotions bought the domain for €65000. Consultancy firm Trust Partners estimates 2011 online casino revenues in Italy of €200m. In 2012, this figure is expected to rise to between €800m and €1bn.

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