Europe in Pills: Poland Opens to Foreign Operators and Sweden Attacks the AppStore
While Italy and Spain are busy with important changes at the top of their respective online gambling regulators, Poland gets ready to slowly open to international betting operators with a move that some hope is the prelude to the legalization of online poker, and Apple takes gambling apps off Sweden's AppStore.
Spain's Gaming Authority Welcomes José Antonio García
Earlier this week, Spain's Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) welcomed José Antonio García as the new deputy director general of management and institutional relations.
García, who now officially joins the authority that has controlled the country's online gambling market since 2012, replaced Laura Minguito Gil, who during the past years has been a key figure in the establishment of the dot-es online poker market and in the regulation of online casino games in Spain.
With a background as a telecommunications engineer, García has already worked with the DGOJ in the past, as he has been serving the regulatory body as a technical advisor since 2013.
Although the DGOJ chose not to specify which are intended to be the first issues on García's plate, Spain's regulatory body sent a note to the press to thank Minguito Gil for the work done during the past few years.
"The DGOJ appreciates Minguito Gil's great involvement, efforts and work, without which it would have been impossible to address the multiple projects developed during her term," the note states.
The DGOJ wished Minguito Gil "the same success" in her new position at Spain's General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration.
Italy's Top Regulatory Chair Still Vacant
Although Luigi Magistro has formally left his position as deputy director of Italy's Agency of Customs (ADM) — the State body that includes the gambling regulator AAMS — back in January, his seat is still vacant as the country does not seem able to find a suitable successor.
According Italy's news agency Agimeg, during the past months ADM's human resources department has been actively evaluating a number of candidates and it has now managed to get down to a shortlist that is currently still being examined by all the parties involved in the decision.
Given the decline the Italian online poker market has suffered since the introduction of the country's legislation on online gambling and the subsequent creation of the ring-fenced dot-it online poker market, Magistro's successor will most likely be requested to innovate the agency and to propose the implementation of new measures to help the growth of the industry.
Also, the choice of ADM's new vice president could play a crucial role in the launch of shared liquidity in Europe. With Spain's DGOJ being traditionally in favor of the creation of an international online poker market among the EU Member States that have similar regulations, and France that has restarted to evaluate the possibility to loosen its tight legislation on the issue, a strong support — or opposition — from Italy's regulatory body is what many believe could make the difference in either launching or dropping the shared liquidity project in Europe.
Poland to Loosen Its Gambling Legislation
International operators will soon get the opportunity to offer their services to Polish citizens, as the European Commission gave its approval to a set of amendments proposed by the Polish government.
Aimed to open he Polish market by easing the entrance of foreign operators and at the same time by also lowering the taxes applied to the industry, the new set of norms should help the government to collect higher tax revenues and tackle the issue of gray operators, that Polish authorities consider may be costing missed revenues for hundreds of millions.
Legalized since 2001, the Polish legal online sports betting industry has never managed to function properly, as the high costs connected to the licensing process, the requirements included in the law, and the high taxes kept most international companies out. So far, only four companies have applied for a license.
As PokerFuse reports, however, none of the modifications examined by the European Commission is set to introduce any significant changes for online poker - which will continue to be 'illegal' in the country.
Apple Removes Gambling Apps from Sweden's AppStore
Sweden's fight against the operators that illegally challenge the country's online gambling monopoly just hit the most famous AppStore in the world, as Apple decided to remove the apps of a number of major operators from the Swedish version of its online platform.
Starting from last week, Swedish iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners can no longer download the apps to play on poker sites such as PokerStars, Full Tilt, 888poker, partypoker, Bet365, William Hill, Betfair, Unibet, and several others.
Apple's decision came in response to a request from the Swedish gambling authority, which asked to inhibit the access to the apps that operated in violation of the monopoly held by the Sweden's State gambling company Svenska Spel.
Image courtesy of NationofChange.org