William Hill Ends Operations in Estonia and Portugal
As of Sunday, June 28, online gaming operator William Hill is no longer accepting any gaming services on any of its platforms, including its online casino, to players residing in Estonia and Portugal.
It is believed the main reason behind this strategic decision are the online gaming regulation already on the books in Estonia, and the new proposed licensing regime in Portugal - which is now in its final stages of becoming a law of the land.
This follows a trend started already during 2014, when William Hill exited from more than 50 markets. Also, according to eGR Magazine, William Hill asked their affiliates affiliates to stop their marketing activities in the Netherlands in preparation for a new licensing regime expected to be enforced in the near future.
While the gaming regime in Estonia is deemed reasonable to many gaming operators, William Hill isn't the only one feeling that the proposed gaming taxes and fees in Portugal are too high.
The tax rate for online casinos is expected to amount to the 8% of each operator's turnover up to the first €30 million, before rising to 16% thereafter. It is believed that these rates will make it difficult if not impossible for most operators to reach an operating profit. Opponents of the high tax rate also point out that this will encourage a large grey-market, something that Portugal was attempting to control with the new gaming regime.
This decision to prohibit services in Portugal may turn out to be temporary. William Hill told its affiliates last week that they were “confident that we will have the opportunity to work together in the future.”
It is expected that William Hill won't be the only gaming operator to decide it is too expensive for them to operate in Portugal. Whether or not operators pulling out of the market will encourage Portugal to reconsider its Internet gaming tax rates is up in the air.
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