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Tuesday, 12 June 2012 08:05

Spain Opens Its Online Casino Market

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After months of straightening out the final details, the Spanish market is now open.

Legal gambling is now a reality in Spain, where authorities have spent the past few months deliberating over back taxes and regulatory frameworks. Despite a last-minute announcement that forced online casino operators to delete their entire client database and start from scratch, the market has attracted plenty of interest and the first few days of legal gambling have been relatively problem-free.

Spain's General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling is responsible for issuing licences, and several well-known operators have already received approval to trade under the new framework. In order to receive their licence, operators have to isolate their Spanish players from the rest of the world. They have to agree to set up a separate .es domain so they can separate the players from international .com websites and are also required to force players to sign up on the new site without transferring them from the old. Several sites including PokerStars and Party Poker have been able to transfer loyalty points without a hitch.

Amongst the companies who have received their licence are 888 Holdings (casino, poker, bingo and sportsbook), PokerStars, PartyPoker and Betfair (casino and sportsbook). Foreign-based companies have had to pay millions of euros in back taxes as a condition of market entry.