June 1, 2012 was the birth date of online poker .es

The implementation of the Law of the Game in Spain (Law 13/2011, of May 27, regulating the game) had positive aspects, such as the arrival of new users thanks to the aggressive marketing campaigns of the operators or the increase of the security of the game environment.
However, the adoption of the so-called “Latin model” launched the double taxation model, which obliged players to pay a twice: their ordinary taxes for the profits of the game and also one part of the poker room’s taxes (which increased the rake of the cash tables and tournament fees, at players’ expense, to be able to pay their taxes).

In the beginning, the taxation of the online game (poker, gambling) was unsustainable, since it was applied to the gross profits of the game, in other words, it didn’t take into account the losses. If a player won € 5,000 and lost € 6,000, despite having a negative balance of € 1,000, he had to pay taxes of € 5,000.

Fortunately, on 28 December, Fool’s Day in Spain, this issue was clarified and the government accepted that taxation was for net profits (discounting losses). The measure had retroactive effects and began on January 1, 2012, which allowed players to devote to online poker with something more of fiscal tranquillity.

Time passed and most of the online poker rooms were closed. The regulatory model was moving toward poker cannibalization. Spanish politicians did nothing to solve this slow but inscrutable decline until this year. The arrival in the “DGOJ” of Mr. Juan Espinosa brought new hopes on the modification of the regulatory framework. In one of his first public appearances, Espinosa said that liquidity shared with France, Italy and Portugal would occur in the first half of 2017. News from Italy and France (where legislation was changed to give free passage to agreements of international liquidity) encouraged us to think that Mr. Espinosa’s words could be true.

Months passed and little by little the restlessness came. However, from France and Italy brought good news. Its regulators hinted that the signing of the market unification agreement would take place in summer and, after closing the technical and fiscal fringe, the new unified regulated market would start operating in early 2018.

To this day, these are the latest news available on the subject of shared liquidity. We are waiting for the regulators meeting and sign the agreement. Hopefully they will comply and sign before August so that the issue will not be delayed any longer. Unification of regulatory markets isn’t the best scenario. The dreamed option would be the application of the open or English model, which would allow us to play in .com, on open platforms.

In any case, the shared liquidity solution would radically improve the regulated supply of online poker, as traffic would grow considerably, both in cash tables and tournaments. France and Italy have considerably more players than Spain and Portugal, as can be seen in public sources such as PokerScout. The union of the 4 markets would allow us to play tournaments with spectacular guarantees. In fact, on Sundays and Thursdays there could be MTTs with prize pools of more than € 500,000; and the monthly organization of some “Sunday Million” would not be outlandish.

In addition, the shared liquidity would mean the arrival of fresh air to Spanish online poker, as new poker rooms would start operating in our country, such as the expected Winamax, which in France is the number 1 online poker room. Moreover, the launch of the unified market could encourage other countries to join the shared liquidity initiative, so the new platform could have great potential for growth.

However, we should not indulge in wishful thinking. Everything is, as always, in the hands of politicians. Hopefully they fulfil their obligation and work to save our sector. Shared liquidity and the unification of regulated markets are EV +++. The truth is that it would be a great Christmas present.

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