Many internet gambling operators were surprised to learn that on Thursday 1 June, Spanish regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego stated that licensees must start from a zero base again.
New Spanish Online Gambling Legislation
Online gambling operators such as 888, Sportingbet, Betfair and Bwin.Party had to pay Spanish taxes dating 4-years back. Bwin.Party forked out millions of Euros just to operate in the Spanish market. The Spanish government said that it wants everyone to start from scratch and on the same par. As a result players must now close their existing accounts at Spanish-targeted .com sites, withdraw their cash, register new accounts and re-deposit at .es sites.
In addition players will also forfeit their VIP status, affiliates will also feel the brunt of the new legislation. Unfortunately online casinos and affiliates will not be able to transfer their players to their new dedicated Spanish websites, such as tagging accounts to affiliates who originally referred the players. Personally we feel that this won’t sit well with Spanish players since they must jump through many legislative hoops. In the long run it might benefit newer operators.
The Spanish government started issuing licenses Friday, 1 June. However, Spanish sites will only be operational from the 5 June. The trade association JDigital requested this to prevent any possible snags during the course of the weekend.
In hindsight, this might pose a serious problem to well-established sites since it will effectively wipe out their player databases over a short period of time. The new move from the Spanish government definitely favors Spanish operators and not foreign based sites that are well-established.