Revenue-hungry Spanish tax authorities are chasing online gambling firms like bwin.party and Sportingbetusing laws that, until now, had not been applied to offshore online gaming.
The debt-crippled country is expected to issue lucrative online gaming licences at the beginning of June but has now ordered operators which already have customers in Spain to pay back-taxes.
Recently Spanish tax authorities contacted all of major online gaming operators saying any online operator that has accepted customers from Spain has to pay Spanish taxes under two laws, one dating from 1966 and the other from 1977.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
Previously these laws were applied to operators based in Spain carrying out offline gaming activities and to certain kinds of bets other than fixed odd bets.
Having completed a self-assessment, bwin.party says it will be handing over €33m.
This will be painful for bwin.party but, as it says in today's announcement, the idea is "to secure the group's position in Spain in the context of its application for eGaming licences".
Sportingbet was more cagey about its tax bill, saying it was "in discussions with the Spanish Ministry of Finance about a potential outstanding tax liability covering its operations in Spain from January 2009 - May 2011".
A further announcement will be made in due course, the firm said.
BS & MM
Nikkei 225 reaches record high: should you invest in Japan?
Japanese equities have soared to an all-time high. But do they still offer good value and should you invest?
By Katie Williams Published
The Co-op unveils new 7% regular saver- is it the best on the market?
The Co-operative Bank has launched a new best buy regular saver offering 7%. Is it the top deal and how does it work?
By Vaishali Varu Published