Gala Coral Group Ltd. — a casino, bingo and bookmaking operator based in the United Kingdom — has decided to cut ties with a familiar online gaming brand, Eurobet.com.
Because of future regulatory changes that are coming in the next few months, the major casino conglomerate has decided the the Eurobet.com franchise and web address will no longer be maintained by the private equity houses of the GCG.
Merging with Coral Eurobet in 2005, the GCG informed all of the clients of Eurobet.com’s departure via email, so they could withdrawal their real-money accounts at their own discretion. Despite a spokesman for the company ensuring that all bets and wagers made on the site will remain legitimate until 5 p.m. on September 30, 2011, naturally players were skeptical and have since taken precautionary measures to protect themselves from the pitfalls of such a deadline.
By specifically wording the comment as “all ante-post bets will be honoured and payments will be made at the relevant times,” Gala Coral Group didn’t help their cause. The phrase “relevant times” is very vague, and doesn’t ensure a deep level of confidence with consumers. It fact, it may have frightened players to the same level of concern that many Full Tilt Poker customers are currently experiencing, with the ongoing legal battles of that company.
Players in the United States are still awaiting legislation allowing them to return to the online poker tables, free of restrictions and expensive payment processing delays. Full Tilt Poker still remains as the major culprit in this category, although there are several other smaller sites that fit under the same bill.
Gala Coral Group Ltd. will continue to provide services to their Eurobet.it and Coral.co.uk sites, as the decision to close the dot.com page was almost exclusively based around the rule and licensing changes occurring in the core market countries of Spain and Greece. The Italian-based platform is fully-licensed and thriving, with their sportsbooking operations in the U.K. following along a similar path.
In the areas of Spain and Greece, potential licensees and start-up gaming companies will need to endure stricter requirements to operate under the new guidelines. Put into effect in August, with EU-licensed operators now paying a 30% GPT and players a 10% GPT on winnings, online gaming will become increasingly expensive in the area of Greece. Spain, establishing their operational restrictions in May, have laid out an e-gaming agenda that is tough, but has projections of €137.5 million in new income for 2012.
The monstrous boosts to the local economies of both areas will be fully welcomed, along with the potential of creating new jobs and income, two assets of which would be globally welcomed; not just in the areas of Spain and Greece. In Spain, 2010 saw an increase of 33 percent to the statistic of gamblers who participated online.
With both players and politicians intently focused on the financial advantages of such legislative reform, it should only be a matter of time before things return back to normal in the online gaming world.
It seems as though if economies around the world need to increase tax revenue and stabilize economic hindrances, they should look at the untapped potential of professional online gamblers to regain precious monetary value.
In Gala Coral Group’s most recent financial year, they generated substantial earnings of €307 million, minus taxes, interest, and depreciation. They currently own over 30 casinos, and sit still as the third largest retail bookmaking operation in the U.K. with a 20% market share.