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Regulation Looms for Spanish Online Gambling Market

Regulation Looms for Spanish Online Gambling Market

Spain is poised to join France and Italy as far as European countries that regulate and tax online casino and poker sites on the national level. Spain's e-gaming regulations have already been approved and passed by the government, with 2012 the target date for enacting them.

The current version of “Ordenación del Juego” includes creating a national gambling commission to oversee the process of awarding licenses to online gambling operators that want to serve clients in Spain, and largely follows the model that the French and Italian governments adopted.

One difference with the proposed Spanish regulation is that while player pools can't be shared with existing networks, international players will be allowed to play alongside Spanish citizens.

Servers used by online gaming companies must be physically located in Spain and sites must use a .es domain name. All players must go through an identity verification process before they can play any online slots or poker games, which includes supplying their national insurance number and submitting identity documents to officials.

Online sites will be taxed at a 25% rate on their gross profits, with plans to start collecting tax payments from existing operators by the end of July. Sites currently serving the Spanish market must be current on their tax payments in order to be considered for a license when the new regulations go into effect.

WinPalace Casino and a host of other casino, poker, and sportsbetting sites currently serve the Spanish market, which is one of the largest gambling markets in the world. To date none have announced whether they plan to pursue a Spanish license once the regulations are in place, but the odds are great that most major operators will do so.

Efforts in France and Italy to regulate gambling markets have met with mixed success but the lure of collecting big tax payments has Spain and other countries looking to following the lead of Italy and France.

18-Jul-2011, 01:48

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