While online poker continues to grow and expand steadily across the world, there has also been numerous setbacks in the online poker industry. A number of countries in the European Union have witnessed a serious decline in online gambling revenues during the past year and industry analysts predict that this trend will continue.
Italy, France and Spain have seen a significant decrease in online poker traffic and as a result online poker revenue has also decreased. The UK recently tightened its policy on online gambling and increased its taxes, which did not go down well with online gambling companies in the UK.
Most online poker players in the EU are unhappy with the strict regulations and high taxes and prefer to play overseas or use illegal poker websites in the EU that allow them to keep their winnings instead of paying out a huge percentage in taxes. Brian Mattingley, the CEO of 888 Holdings said that the EU continues to be a huge market for online poker and other forms of internet based gambling but the online gaming regulations imposed by the EU is seriously affecting the EU market and also impacting the global online poker industry.
Mattingley believes that EU countries will continue to face challenges and a decline in online poker revenue but believes that things will settle down and online gambling companies who manage to survive will be able to experience growth and profitability in the EU.
Mattingley who will step down as CEO of 888 in 2015 said that online gambling companies will have to work together to overcome these challenges. 888 has joined forces with other gambling companies to protest the UK gambling act that requires gambling operators to pay out 15% in tax based on all revenues obtained from UK customers. The UK gambling act has upset a number of online gambling providers, especially 888 who derives more than 40% of its revenue from the UK.
Some companies have already wound up operations and moved out of the UK but 888 will continue to operate in the UK and will work together with other members of the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) to protest the new gambling act. Given the serious decline in online poker revenues across the EU, gambling regulators across the EU will soon have to brainstorm on finding solutions that can be mutually beneficial for the respective countries as well as online gambling providers.