Spain to Open Up to Online Gambling

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The Spanish government has decided to follow UK’s and Italy’s lead in regulating and licensing online gambling companies, and a host of those companies are expected to rush into Spain.

Going against the direction the US has been heading in relation to online gambling, the government of Spain has apparently decided the benefits to be gained from regulation far outweigh those to be gained by prohibition.

Italy’s recent decision to regulate their gambling industry resulted in a flood of applications for licenses from UK bookmakers and online giants such as Ladbrokes, William Hill and Gala Coral. It is expected these same companies, along with PartyGaming and SportingBet, will apply for 32 Vegas
licenses in the now regulated Spanish market.

The iGamingBusiness website reported that Madrid’s regional government announced that it was allowing bets in games locations, as well as telephone and online bets, including internet bets on bingo and online casino games.

The Spanish licenses will last for five years and will be renewable if the Spanish regulator’s conditions are met. The Spanish government is also including strict regulations to prevent the participation of the young and the mentally ill.

The European Commission has had their eye on other European countries who appear to be protecting state-sponsored monopolies in the online gambling industry, which is against EU regulations. The move by Italy, the UK and now Spain is in stark contrast to recent moves by France, which resulted in the arrest by French police of two Austrian online gambling executives for advertising their business in France through a sponsorship arrangement with the Monaco Football Club.

Italy’s new regulated market has offered 17,000 licenses to the private sector, which will result in a handy boost to their economy. Legal betting in Italy is currently worth 28 billion Euros. The Spanish government would hope to receive a similar boost over the next decade.