European Poker Market Getting Tougher

But 888's outgoing chief still confident on the industry's potential

888 chief executive officer Brian Mattingley gave his thoughts on the industry in an interview with the poker information site Pokerfuse this week, saying that although he remained confident on the ultimate future of the business, there could be tough times ahead due to changes on the regulatory scene, unlicensed operators and the economic uncertainties plaguing the world.

Among the issues Mattingley addressed was the implementation of the UK point-of-consumption legal changes, which include the imposition of a 15 percent tax on operators in respect of business conducted with British online punters.

888 is Gibraltar-based and accrues 40 percent of its revenues from the UK market, so it is clearly impacted by the changes and has backed the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association's so far unsuccessful legal challenge to the new dispensation.

He voiced the opinion that the new tax and licensing regime did not appear to have been well thought through, but said he had no problem with understandable regulation, and that his company would remain in the UK online gambling market.

That involves compliance with the government's requirements, including the disclosure of activities in grey markets which contribute more than 3 percent to revenues.

Mattingley emphasised that this was not a problem for 888, which holds legitimate real-money licensing in every major market where it operates and licensing is available.

He remains confident in the ultimate potential of the US market despite the volatile political situation, although he expressed surprise at how long it is taking the business to take off in those states that have legalised online gambling action.

The veteran online gambling executive touched on his company's decision to exit the French market due to its high 37 percent tax rate and declining poker market, commenting that tax rates levied by European governments may be a continuing problem for the industry, and the forthcoming introduction of an EU value added tax next year on goods and services rendered over the Internet would inevitably impact online gambling companies.

Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa

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