International edition
September 30, 2020

They demand equal opportunities for private and state

Spain: Cirsa and Codere against tender and sale of Lotería y Apuestas del Estado

(Spain) .- The upcoming IPO of Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (LAE) has not only raised expectations among investors, but also between the rival companies. Some of the major private operators in game, like Cirsa and Codere, criticize the way the privatization will be carry out.

C

odere is "concerned about the possible unfair competition that may occur by the state enterprise.” This group, the only quoted in Spain with a capitalization of 520 million euros in 2010, criticizes that "an entity that doesn’t pay taxes can compete with the weapons of their special status against private operators."

 

Meanwhile, Cirsa is not much more positive. Its CEO, Joaquim Agut, stated that "the State cannot compete unfairly with Loterías," and requested a fiscal and regulatory treatment similar to the one that new law gives to public companies, which prepares the sale of 30% of its capital through an IPO next November.

 

To Agut, the lack of reciprocity between the two groups is shown in, for example, that LAE may enter and compete in new products with better fiscal framework than the other groups and less advertising restrictions. "We want a similar deal," said Agut. "The state can’t be regulator and competitor at the same time."

 

Cirsa, controlled by the Lao family, defends his position with data: according to its figures, industry revenue has fallen 27% since 2008, compared to the "slight fall" of LAE (-2%) and Once (-10% ). In its view, reflects the regulatory asymmetry.

 

At Once, they are cautious. "We don’t have all the information about how the IPO will be and we don’t have a closed stance in this regard," they said in the state. A different approach is the one that shows the association of Internet gamblers, Aedapi. Despite acknowledging that the public group will start "with certain advantages," its director, Sacha Michaud, is "positive" with privatization and believes "that the industry will grow faster. Their current games will continue free tax, but not the new ones,” he says.

 

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