Adios, Spain!

Spanish gamblers are getting the boot from Bodog Europe by the end of this month. The move is just latest turn in an ongoing drama that’s making the Spanish gaming look more like an episode of Survivor than a multi-million dollar industry.

No official reason was given for the departure, but it’s almost certainly linked to the imposition of new Spanish gaming licenses later this spring. Under the new laws, gaming companies that don’t have a Spanish license must stop serving their Spanish customers by the first of June.

Though the list of applicants is believed to include as many as 60 international companies, including PokerStars and Party Poker, not everyone is interested in playing by the new Spanish rules.  Just last month Microgaming exited Spain under similar circumstances.

Delays Could Be a Factor

Anyone following the ongoing gaming liberalization law effort in Europe knows that movement on the Spanish front has been anything but speedy. Gaming license applicants have cut through miles of red tape and legal battles, only to meet up with delay after delay.

In December of 2011 it looked as though the government was ready to approve gaming licenses, but moved the approval date back another six months.

As recently as the beginning of March, it looked as though regulators were ahead of schedule and would make an announcement, but that didn’t happen either. Thanks to the resignation of Spanish gaming boss Juan Carlos Alfonso Rubio, the date has been pushed back again.

Whether the big announcement will come in a couple of weeks, or a couple of months is anybody’s guess. Given their track record, it wouldn’t be shocking if thatJune target date  slipped back even further.

There’s been some speculation as to whether the delays are the result deliberate foot dragging or a slow moving Madrid bureaucracy. Whatever the situation, it’s not surprising that companies would be less than enthusiastic about entering the Spanish market.

What do you think about the latest moves in Spain? Let us know in our Online Gaming Laws and Regulations Forum.


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