Online Casino Games Now Legal in Spain

Following months of deliberations about the finer points involved with creating a gambling regulatory framework, the Spanish online gambling market has officially opened. Spanish citizens will now be able to play online casino games legally, but only within the country and only at designated sites.

As part of the framework, the Spanish government made a number of stipulations to ensure the maximization and protection of revenue. The first was that all foreign-based companies would need to pay back taxes (in some cases, millions of euros) as a condition of entry to the market. Secondly, all companies operating in the market are required to isolate Spanish players from the rest of the world. As such, all licensees must set up a separate .es domain specifically geared towards Spanish citizens and require players to register at the new site. No transfers are allowed and operators must purge their old databases and begin from scratch. Several casino blog sites have asserted that this is a move to keep revenue within the country.

The authority responsible for issuing licenses, the Spanish General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling, has already issued licenses to several well-known online gambling companies who have complied with the regulations in full. These include 888 Holdings (casino, poker, bingo and sportsbook), PokerStars, PartyPoker and Betfair (casino and sportsbook). The first week of legal online gambling appears to have passed without problem.