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Spain Delays Gaming Licenses

Applicants for Spanish gaming licenses may have to wait as long as six months to hear if applications are approved. Spanish authorities did not give a reason for the delay, but it is presumed that regulators needed extra time to put the finishing touches on regulations and other bureaucratic doings.

Blow to Applicants

This latest delay is a serious blow to the 60 license applicants who are eager to tap into the lucrative Spanish gaming market. Most of these companies have already navigated some serious red tape to get this far and can’t be happy about having to wait around another six months.

One group that won’t be complaining is the, mostly Spanish run, gaming sites that are already in operation in the Iberian Peninsula. This move gives them an additional six months of competition free operation.

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Already Complicated Regulations

Anyone familiar with the long, and complicated, back story behind the liberalization of Spanish gaming laws will not be surprised by the delay. The road to an open gaming market in the country has been rough and regulations are extremely complex and the Spanish government will take around 25% of the take online gaming operations.

But because Spaniards are absolutely in love with gambling, most companies are willing to put up with some complications to get a shot at those piles of Pesos.

Behind the Delay

While no official reasons were given for the delay, online forums and poker sites were ripe with speculation. Some popular theories included:

  • Political Quarrels – There’s a serious turf war between Federal and Regional authorities over how gaming laws should be applied and the delay could have something to do with that.
  • Delays Mean More Money for the National Lottery – The biggest loser in Spain’s new gaming world will likely be the National Lottery, which will likely see lower revenues when forced to compete with other gaming outfits. Some believe that lottery officials are trying to squeeze out an extra few months of revenue before facing additional competition.
  • Government Moves Slowly – It’s also very likely that there’s nothing sinister behind the delay at all. The Spanish bureaucracy may just be dragging its feet because that’s what governments do all over the world.


No matter what’s behind the delay, it’s certain that the many businesses that have spent lots of time and money preparing to enter the Spanish market are not at all pleased at the prospect of waiting until summer to take the next step.

What effect will this latest delay have on affiliates and casinos that are ready to start working with Spanish gamers? Let us know in our Online Gambling Laws and Regulations Forum.