Gambling in Andorra
Up until the early 2010s gambling in Andorra was illegal. Then the government of this smallest country in Europe, developed a long-term plan to attract tourists. According to various estimates, income from tourism is 60 to 90% of the country's entire budget. Legalisation of the gambling industry could attract more tourists thereby increasing the income for Andorra. The very first step to be taken was setting up a special agency (Agency of the Interministerial Commission of Gambling) in 2012, which later was turned into Andorra Regulatory Council of the Game (Consell Regulador Andorrà del Joc).
Gambling Games in Andorra
The government of Andorra allows several types of games to be organised: gambling exclusively - the games that are based solely on luck (such as raffles). The second type are the games that require some skills and whose outcome will depend partially on luck. One or several players enter into an agreement by which they risk their money. If one of the players loses, his/her money goes to other players. These games are subdivided into two types, namely bets and table games. In the case with sports betting and other bets, win or loss will depend on the outcome of the event, the player can not influence it, but he/she can apply his/her intellectual abilities to predict the result. Table games that are mostly based on skills and abilities of the players rather than on chance. The third type is competitions with an element of chance. Games are conducted by TV, radio and other media. To qualify for a prize, the player communicates with the organisers by text messaging or any posts in any media.
Subsequent types of games in the legislation of Andorra go as follows: raffles and promo lotteries, bingo, lottery and slot machines. Only licensed games are allowed. The permit contains the description of the game, the denomination, the rules, values of prizes and other information. Below is a list of the most played slots: The Angler, Magic Shoppe, Mega Power Heroes, Trump It and Fa Fa Twins. The Angler is a five-reel slot by BetSoft that features 20 paylines, a series of free spins and a bonus game. Magic Shoppe is a slot developed by BetSoft that comes with 5 reels and 25 paylines, three types of free spins and several Wild symbols. Mega Power Heroes is a slot developed by Fugaso that features a jackpot of x1,000. Trump It is a slot developed by Fugaso that comes with 5 reels, 15 paylines, a series of free spins and some extra multipliers. Fa Fa Twins is a five-reel slot by BetSoft that features some bonus games, extra multipliers and a risk game.
Gambling legislation in Andorra as of 2017 is being actively discussed and rewritten. At the present time the main law is 37/2014 dated December 11 (Llei 37/2014, de l’11 de desembre, de regulació dels jocs d’atzar). This is the law that regulates all trends of the gambling industry. Bingo was the only game that has been regulated up until now by Law 28 that came into effect in November 1996. Not too long ago the government introduced some amendments and today bingo is regulated by Law 28/2012 that was adopted October 18, 2012.
This new law is not as flexible as was anticipated. The law points out that: Games of chance or betting games are not considered commercial activity or public services. They are subject to strict regulation, which is aimed primarily at protecting the players. Games are also a subject of international cooperation against crime and money laundering. The law also states that social risk groups will be monitored on a regular basis. The mission of the government is also to ensure health and safety.
The Gaming regulator in Andorra is Consell Regulador Andorrà del Joc, whose functions include: Limitation of supply and demand, monitoring the activities of operators, prevention of gambling addiction and detection and prosecution of criminal activities. This is the regulating authority that certifies technical systems, audits the equipment, monitors the games and checks the correlation between bets and prizes. In order to prevent any illegal activities, Andorrà Regulatory Council of the Game cooperates with other government authorities: the FIU, the INAF, the Protection Agency of Data and the Telecommunications Service Of Andorra. To save on the number of staff, the structure of this committee is distributed throughout the Administration. The staff members are also employees of: the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Trade and Tourism.
Types of Gaming Operators
Andorra has the notion of "types of gaming operators". The law subdivides game organisers and equipment distributors into 6 classes:
- Gaming operator of the first category is a legal entity that is only engaged in gambling: betting, games of skill and luck, and slot machines. This category also includes game organisers on cruise ships.
- The second category is a legal entity that deals only with bingo or video bingo and gaming machines in recreational areas.
- The third category is a legal entity that deals with land-based and/or online gambling. This category includes the entire spectrum of games - from raffles to games of skill.
- The fourth category is a legal entity that deals only with online services: games of skill, bets and bingo machines.
- The fifth category is either a physical person or a legal entity that deals with competitions where the outcome depends on chance. These are raffles, some types of lotteries and promo lotteries (both land-based and online). These competitions will not be conducted regularly, but only in addition to the operator's main activities.
- The sixth category is either a physical person or a legal entity that deals with quinto games or other gambling games for charitable purposes exclusively.
Fifty percent of the taxes paid by the operators must go to the social projects: education, healthcare, science, culture and security.
Online Gambling in the Country
Class D license for online operators is obtained by the same rules as all the rest. The period of validity for each license is determined by the results of the tender conducted by the Andorra Regulatory Council of the Game. The term will usually not exceed five years. The license application must include the address, the description of the website and the list of games being offered among other information about the online operator. So far Andorra's online market remains almost a "grey zone". The market analysts, however, believe that the future looks good, especially with the laws on bingos and lotteries that were passed in 2016.
Andorra has a number of different types of licenses tailor made to each legal gambling game, activity and even place in which the activity takes place, as follows:
- Class A license is issued to casino operators that offer games of chance, games of skill, betting and slot machines. This license also allows games to be organised on cruise ships.
- Class B allows operators of the second category to organise bingo halls and video bingo platforms.
- Class C allows operators of the third category to organise land-based facilities for gambling of any type, and class C allows operators to organise online games of any type.
- Class D only covers the organisation of online games of any type.
- Class E allows competitions to be conducted where the outcome depends on chance: raffles and promotional lotteries that are not organised regularly.
- Class F is a license to conduct charity games of any trend.
- Class G and H allows to distribute gaming equipment.
- Class I is a license to conduct managerial activities in the gambling industry.
- Class J allows to sell, supply, produce, import and export the equipment, and install and provide maintenance for gaming equipment.
To qualify for class A to D licenses the operator must be registered in Andorra. The company's main activities must be aimed at the gambling industry. All employees of a gaming establishment must be licensed. A holder of class E to class J licenses can be either a physical person or a legal entity. Application for a license is submitted to the Andorrà Regulatory Council of the Game. The application will contain the following items:
- Information about the operator.
- Information about the Director and the Board of Directors.
- Accounting and financial reports.
- How useful the operator's activities are for the community, the company's plans and rules for depreciation of assets. The operator must have a consistent track record of five years of work prior to the moment the application for a license was submitted.
- Description of all games that are being offered.
- Information about the personnel criteria for selection, qualifications and training.
- Information on materials and equipment.
The applicant must also provide bank guarantees and a description of systems that will counteract money laundering.
Development of Casino Market in Andorra
In 2017 Andorra's authorities are planning on launching a tender offer to select the best company that will build a land-based casino. Allegedly, it will not resemble the American model because these casinos draw too much attention. The government, however, wants all areas of tourism to be developed successfully. As far as the online market is concerned, the situation remains unclear so far. Andorra will most likely decide to ally with France and/or Spain. If opening of market boundaries goes smoothly, it will be the very first instance of convergence of cashflow in Europe. The gambling industry in Andorra is only at the starting point of its development. The gambling industry is mainly focusing on tourists. Profits from tourism bring up to 80% of the proceeds into the budget. The country's government makes every effort to get the gambling industry to develop within the proper framework and with the minimum harm inflicted on the society.