Spanish gaming laws claimed another victim last week when Microgaming signaled that poker sites running on its network would no longer be allowed to serve Spanish customers. This move comes ahead of the implementation of new gaming laws limiting the Spanish market to licensed operators only.
NordicBet is the biggest company impacted by the move. Companies like Ladbrokes that are deep in the licensing process are expected to keep their Spanish operations on the Microgaming network.
Efforts to open the highly lucrative Spanish gaming market over the past year have been slow at best. As recently as December 21 it seemed as though the Spanish government was ready to start issuing gaming licenses, but the issue date was pushed back at least six months. A number of big name gaming brands like PokerStars, Bwin and Unibet are expected to receive licenses and start operating as soon as they can.
“Buenos Dios! Now Leave”
In Spain, unlike other Euro Zone countries, the fight against gaming liberalization is led by Codere, a privately run company. In most other EU States, governments are opposing igaming because it competes directly with as opposed to state monopolies.
Codere is very litigious and seems ready to fight liberalization down to their last Peso. Company officials have long maintained that online casinos are given preferential treatment over land based competitors, especially when it comes to taxes.
Gambling is a major past time for Spaniards and that makes this stakes in this fight very high. Gaming licenses for foreign companies should be issued in the fairly near future, but when it comes to Iberian iGaming, nothing is guaranteed.
Recommended Reading: Online Gambling Regulation in Spain