Europe
How long can this dysfunctional EU last? Reform is required but there is no appetite for it and even less appetite for change if the impetus for change is coming from the UK. The gambling news from Europe always appears to be negative, the latest big issue has been the potential for countries to levy VAT on the bet, and Germany could not wait and did it straight away.
 


European countries, however, need to reduce budget deficits and they will look towards Italy that has regulated gambling and raised so much more in gambling taxes.
Spain is warming to online gambling and we expect that to be their focus in 2015. The Netherlands is also seeking applications for Internet gambling with a 20% rate of GPT.
The Russian economy is suffering a triple whammy: a falling oil price, economic sanctions and US dollar denominated debt. So we would expect some relaxation in Internet gambling law starting with poker.
I suspect they will licence locals companies first and invoke bad actor clauses against other European firms. Mr Putin is not likely to give up this lucrative market to EU and US companies given the current stand-off over the Ukraine.
Poland will try and fail to quash what they term as “illegal” internet gambling.
What will happen to Bwin? Will it be a sale, breakup or just carry on. There is now uncertainty over the VAT issue in Germany, twelve months is a long time but at the moment I think the odds favour Bwin continuing as a listed company.
Europe really needs, and the people want, a large integrated casino resort. Surely there is a European country that has the courage to give people what they want?