888 sees Spain tax bill under $10 million: source

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 07, 2012 10:03 AM
888 sees Spain tax bill under $10 million: source

By Rosalba O'Brien

LONDON (Reuters) - Online gaming firm 888 expects to pay a back-tax bill for its Spanish operations of less than $10 million, as Spain prepares to award its first online betting licenses in June, a source close to the company said.

Helped by the leverage of the new licenses, cash-strapped Spain is demanding retrospective taxes from internet gambling companies operating between January 2009 and May 2011.

888, which has about 6 percent of its operations in Spain, expects to announce soon that it will pay a tax settlement of less than $10 million, the source said on Thursday.

This week, rival Bwin.party digital said it would pay about $42 million to settle its back-tax bill, while Sportingbet said it had paid $22 million, and Betfair said it would pay not more than 10 million euros ($12.6 million).

Brokers had estimated 888's exposure at less than $20 million.

(Editing by Will Waterman)