Receiving bets from all over the world online. I cheated the law and the law lost.

Today’s editorial title is a rephrasing of the famous lyrics in “I Fought the Law”  a song written by Sonny Curtis of the Crickets popularized by a cover by the Bobby Fuller Four, 1966 and also recorded by the Clash in 1979 (which is the version that I like). However, we will speak another day about music!

When the Internet was in its early stages, it was truly a paradise for online operators, most of them using licenses from Gibraltar, UK, Malta, Isle of Man, Jersey and Curacao. Those licenses gave them the ability to operate all over the world with their .com sites. Of course, since they were paying taxes for their profits in the country that they were registered and by employing a certain number of tricks, they ended up paying almost no taxes.

As the Internet grew, it was a matter of time for the governments of the world to understand that they were losing money from taxes. Some people saw the writing on the wall. Specifically, I remember a CEO of a very big operator telling me back in 2009 “The .com model is dying and we need to be prepared for the next day”. So, governments, in slow steps, started regulating their countries and asking the operators to comply with laws.

What happened after this is kind of funny. Since each county has a different law regarding tax rates, the sharks of the industry acquired licenses in the countries that they were interested in, they calculated the profits and losses in some other countries and left, and of course they still operated in the rest of the unregulated world.

In an ideal world, the best thing that can happen is that a central gambling association which all the operators should participate in, could propose one and only universal gambling law and the countries of the world would accept this – but of course this is just a fool’s dream.

What can realistically happen is something that Dinos Stranomytis from Altenar proposed in one of the conferences. The operators and providers operating in EU countries can be under one unique European Law as long as they all come together and agree on this.

The question is, do the big companies and the leaders of each country want this? I am not so sure about this. However, I am sure that greed is one of the seven deadly sins and operators need to think how to win a little bit less but last for much longer.

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